Raising the retirement age is completely unnecessary

Greengrocer

Photo taken by Sean Chin at www.SeanChin.com.

Today is the day the state pension age for women rises to 65, the same as for men. From now on the Government intends to raise the age for both men and women together: to 66 in 2020, 67 in 2026 and 68 in 2039. The Cridland Report so decrees.

Why? Why do we have to work longer and longer before we retire? I am a baby boomer, brought up to believe my generation had the best living conditions ever. Things were going to carry on getting better without limit. New technology was going to mean we could spend less and less time at work. Why is everything is being put into reverse?

Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Ethics, Politics, Society, Theology | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Poems for justice (3)

FigsThis is the third of three posts about the ancient Hebrew prophet Micah, based on sermons I preached at St Brides Liverpool.

This one is about what we mean by peace. It focuses on Micah’s vision of everyone sitting under their own vines and fig trees, with no-one making them afraid. It is a vision of peace and satisfaction, the kind of situation people long for when they are in the middle of a war.

Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Ethics, Politics, Society, Theology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Poems for justice (3)

The meaning of life in East and West

Michael Puett

Michael Puett

Harvard Professor Michael Puett’s lecture last night was as challenging as it was entertaining.

The title was ‘Chinese Philosophy and the Meaning of Life’. I had no idea that the strongest values of western culture were about to be turned on their head, but that’s what happened.

Continue reading

Posted in Ethics, Society | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on The meaning of life in East and West

Climate change: more hubris won’t stop it

Image of the Earth burningJohn Vaillant’s shocking description of the recent fires in California, hotter than anything seen before, melting everything in urban landscapes, should wake us up to the future awaiting us all if we carry on with our destructive lifestyles.

Now, the latest Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change demands ‘urgent and unprecedented changes’ by 2030, only 12 years away.

Continue reading

Posted in Ethics, Science, Society | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Climate change: more hubris won’t stop it

Poems for justice (2)

Israeli grain mill

Israeli grain mill

This is the second of 3 posts about the ancient Hebrew prophet Micah, based on sermons I preached at St Brides Liverpool. This one is about the relationship between justice and fairness.

The first describes how Micah lived in a society with conflicting beliefs about justice. So do we. To illustrate the difference, here’s an old story. You may have heard before, but it makes a point.

Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Economics, Ethics, God, Politics, Society, Theology | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Poems for justice (2)

Poems for Justice (1)

MicahCentral Liverpool’s food bank, previously known as Hope+, has now been renamed Micah Liverpool. In its honour I was asked to introduce the Hebrew prophet Micah in three sermons at St Brides’ Church.

This one is based on Micah 6:1-8, which is quoted towards the end of this post.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorised | Comments Off on Poems for Justice (1)

The origins of the Eucharist: not what you may have thought

Eucharist, Communion, Mass, Lord’s Supper. For the first Christians, it was their central activity. It was what they gathered for. Why?

The usual story goes like this. On the day before he died, Jesus gathered with the twelve apostles for the kind of meal groups of Jewish men often shared at the Passover Festival, with bread and wine. Jesus said of the bread ‘This is my body’ and of the wine ‘This is my blood’. He also said ‘Do this in remembrance of me’. 150 years after the death of Jesus, and from then on, the standard explanation of the Communion Service has been that Christians are doing what Jesus told them to do at the Last Supper.

Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Churches, Theology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The origins of the Eucharist: not what you may have thought

Boris Corbyn’s anti-them-ism

Antisemitism with Jeremy Corbyn, anti-Islamism with Boris Johnson: how do they compare?

This post is not about the issues themselves but about the way they are being publicly debated and what this tells us about our declining public ethics.

Continue reading

Posted in Ethics, Politics, Society | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Boris Corbyn’s anti-them-ism

New Directions for the Church 10: offer hope

This is the last in my series of posts on new directions for the Church. After this, instead of telling it what it should be saying, I hope to focus on saying it myself.

This is a plea for the Church to offer a positive message of hope.

Continue reading

Posted in Churches, Theology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New directions for the Church 9: break down the barriers

This post continues my series on possible futures for the Church. Here I argue that we need to break down barriers.

Church culture today loves its barriers. It loves to emphasise what makes Christianity different from other faith traditions, or what makes one’s own denomination different from others, or one’s own church different from the one across the road. We need to break them down.

Continue reading

Posted in Churches, Theology | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments