For many years now I have been very much a fan of the writings of the monk, writer, theologian and mystic, Thomas Merton. His commentaries and insights into ethics, non-violence, social action, the contemplative life, inter-faith dialogue and so much more, have been of great interest, and application, to me on my own very personal … More Thomas Merton: The Poetry of Pain & Perspective
“Is There for Honest Poverty”, frequently referred to as “A Man’s a Man for A’ That”, is a Scots song published in 1795 by Robert Burns, Scotland’s pre-eminent poet and lyricist. It is a classic, and timeless expression of egalitarianism. It has long been one of my favourite pieces; its critique of pretentiousness is clear, as is its reminder … More Celebrating Robert Burns: The People’s Poet
This is the first of a regular posting focusing on spiritual poetry/reflective writing of note. Today I will be reading ‘The Questions’, attributed to St. Brendan. There is very little concrete biographical information concerning the life of Brendan, but he was a contemporary of St. Columba of Iona. A printed version of the poem can … More Thinking Poetry: St. Brendan
R.S. Thomas was a welsh clergyman and talented poet. It’s hard to think of a more beautiful and evocative poem on silence. ‘But the silence in the mind’ is, in my opinion, one of his best: But the silence in the mind is when we live best, within listening distance of the silence we call … More ‘But The Silence In The Mind’
Amidst the turmoil of life, the triumphs and the frustrations, the laughter and the pain, we are called to introspection. Such self-examination takes many forms, and occurs at different points in our journey; it is a reflection the growing awareness of the truth of Carl Jung’s insightful observation: ‘who looks outside dreams who looks inside … More ‘It Is Still A Beautiful World’
A favourite short poem of mine was written during the Victorian era by William Ernest Henley. ‘Invictus’ is a classic blend of Stoicism, cultural and a biblical reference. With respect to the latter, in the fourth stanza Henley alludes to Matthew 7:14, ‘Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto … More ‘I Am The Master Of My Fate’
‘Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love, there is a strength, and a blessing, so large, that you can travel as far as you wish, without having to step outside it’. Rainer Maria Rilke
Here are a few of my recent reflections/poems: BY THE WELL Sychar in Samaria by Jacob’s well A shocking scene A Samaritan and a Jew Female and male Countercultural and perplexing, where shame meets perfection. Jesus does not recoil He interacts; he listens A stark reminder that everyone matters That in the heart of Christ ‘There … More Reflections: Faith & Life
An excerpt from Thomas Merton’s beautiful poem, ‘Song: If you Seek…’: Follow my ways and I will lead you To golden-haired suns, Logos and music, blameless joys, Innocent of questions And beyond answers: For I, Solitude, am thine own self: I, Nothingness, am thy All. I, Silence, am thy Amen!
This is the text of my sermon preached today in Cliftonville Moravian Church, Belfast: When I was training to be a scientist, and later when I worked in that field professionally, it was very common for co-workers to get together and discuss their latest results from any experiments that had been done. A very common … More Re-framing Doubt: The Stuff of Faith & Spiritual Growth?