Pope John Paul II's feast day

On this day when we commemorate Pope St. John Paul II, here’s a quote of his that has stayed with me:

“Duc in altum. Put out into the deep. These words invite us to remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm and to look forward to the future with confidence.” #jpII

"The Death of Stalin"

Saw "The Death of Stalin" last night. Both laugh-out-loud hilarious and gasp-inducingly dark. The wonderful cast tear into their parts with gleeful relish, but special mention must go to Andrea Riseborough (always brilliant) who provides an essential and moving emotional anchor to the story and through whose eyes we observe the ridiculousness of the alpha (and not-so-alpha) male power struggles going on around her.  The attached interview with the director/writer Iannucci is very interesting. I love this line which I can most certainly related to:  "Everyone thinks they’re a child in a world of adults and then you realise, actually, it’s lots of big children.”

Sexual harassment, Hollywood, Weinstein + others

This man Terry Crews’ account absolutely nails what is at the heart of the whole question of sexual harassment + abuse and why the women who are coming forward now re Weinstein haven't done so before. It's all to do with power and control, establishing a power relationship that the victim is powerless to do anything about. The abuser knows this which it why they feel they can get away with it, even when, as is the case of this former-sportsman-turned-actor, it takes place at a very public function in full view of other people, including the victim's wife. The fact that the victim is also black gives it echoes of how black slaves were treated... "I own you, so I can do what I want with you... I will humiliate you in front of those you love so that you know your place and will stay in it."

Oh, and it wasn't Weinstein but someone else.

Here's a quote from the second article:

"But perhaps most glaringly, Crews' story shines a light on the myth that se…

“Chanter La Vie”, Brittany 2017

Last month, I took a Team Win...! (SFX Chaplaincy on tour) group of 5 Yr. 8 pupils on a 6 day "Chanter La Vie" adventure in Brittany, aided by Rolo (aka Andrew Rowan). The focal point of the trip was our performance of the song “Life Is Beautiful” by The Afters in a concert with our Canadian and French friends from Chanter La Vie/Villages Des Sources. Other activities included a visit to the Océanopolis Sea Park in Brest, a day out at Mont St. Michel and another at St. Malo, the latter two with the visiting Canadians. Congratulations to the 5 Yr. 8 pupils who came. Thank you for being such a pleasure to take away. You were a real credit to yourselves and to the school. Here's a link to an online album with photos and a few video clips. It looks like I’ll be taking a group to Canada in 2019!

“District 9” and the refugee crisis

The article that you will find here contains a very pertinent analysis of Neill Blomkamp’s wonderful film "District 9" in the light of the current refugee crisis. Here's the start of the article:

"Sometimes the best way to approach the horrors of the real world is indirectly, through fantasy. Allegory can make important points free from the journalistic burdens. On its release in 2009, Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 was acclaimed as a clever sci-fi/action movie that used a story about alien refugees to explore South Africa’s shameful apartheid past.

But today it’s imagery and ideologies have a new resonance. Eight years after its release, as Europe struggles to cope with the ongoing migration crisis - and as media and politicians seek to dehumanise the most vulnerable of people - District 9 is more relevant than ever."

Sharlto Copley as Wikus van de Merwe.

Sacred & Set Apart


Here's a DVO devotion from last year that seeks to explain the meaning of the words "holy" and "sacred" and I think does it rather well.
March 3, 2016He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace... 2 Tim 1:9 (NIV)
Vocation - Part 3
Holy means "sacred and set apart."

Isa 63 says, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory..."

God is holy.

1 Pet 1:15 says, "Now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy."

God wants us to be holy

1 Pet 1:2 "God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed Him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ."

God has made us holy.

To "sanctify" is the process of being made Holy. Which is what Jesus has done for us - sanctified us. The second part of 2 Tim 1:9 says (MSG), …

A stunning image of Jupiter…

… taken by the Juno satellite.

Einstein on knowledge + imagination


Tony Doyle (Old Xaverian, Liverpool), rest in peace

Very sad news... Tony Doyle (Old Xav. - former pupil of mine) has passed away suddenly. Please keep him and his family in your prayers and thoughts. We will pray in our community for Tony and all the family. My heart goes out to them all. I have very fond memories of teaching Tony: a lovely personality, always smiling and joking.

One Love

Amidst all the horror of the last few weeks, this image from the aftermath of the attacks in London somehow made me smile. It's just quintessentially British.

Man pictured fleeing London terror with pint still in hand
I then wrote the following while watching the One Love concert in Manchester. This event not only put a smile on my face but frequently brought tears to the eyes... 
"The artists and all the people there in the audience are doing the world proud tonight. Music (whether or not it's your style) has an amazing power to unite people, transport them, touch their hearts.... LOVE not hate!!! ❤️"
Ariana Grande deserves immense credit for the way she anchored the whole event with such grace, charm and humility.