Showing posts from February, 2017

40 acts for Lent

Just finished my annual retreat, this year with 25 other De La Mennais Brothers at the Benedictine monastery of Landévennec in Finistère, Brittany. A time to recharge the batteries, to read, to pray, to reflect, to write, to enjoy the beautiful coastal countryside... to take stock of the past year and to look forward to the future with hope.
Today and tomorrow I've 2 days of meetings with our Provincial Council, after which it's back to Liverpool just in time to get ready for Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.
Here's a Facebook message from the people at "40 acts" to help us live this Lent in a way that takes the focus away from what we can do for ourselves and towards responding better to the needs of others. "Lent starts this Wednesday! How are you doing it?

We're giving up giving up and giving generously instead.

Like & Share if you're joining us and tag in some friends to join the #40acts generosity movement.
(Sign up at to …

Jack Dowding (1996-2016)

On Jan. 8th I heard of the death of a recent former pupil of mine from our school in Southampton, St. Mary’s College, where I taught for 4 years (2009-13): Jack Dowding. Jack had spent most of his life dealing with type 1 diabetes and it seems that complications related to this are what took him. Here’s what I posted on Facebook at the time, followed by some subsequent posts:

Jan. 8th
Tragic news today about the death of a former pupil of mine at St. Mary’s College, Southampton: Jack Dowding who passed away yesterday at the age of 20. Jack was one of life’s good guys, an effervescent little bundle of energy and enthusiasm whose infectious good humour always left you with a smile on your face.
Jack and his family are in our prayers, our thoughts, our hearts...

God love him + grant him eternal rest.


An article in the Liverpool Evening Echo.


Jan. 11th God love you Jack Dowding!!! Your applause started 30 secs early :-) Bet you enjoyed that goal!!

(Southampton scored in the 20th mi…

Being successful + serving God, or being successful vs. serving God - pt. 1

I've often wondered how it must feel to be a successful Christian recording and touring artist whilst having to deal with the worldly aspects of that life such as marketing, profit margins, contracts, image, media communications, etc... It must be a really delicate balancing act to not let success go to your head when it comes, to keep the focus on the Lord and yet do your best to get your material out there because you believe that God wants you to touch people's hearts and souls through your songs and performances/recordings.

I know that one of my all-time favourite bands, Switchfoot, constantly struggle with this tension. Just listen to their last 3 or 4 albums for numerous examples. Jon Foreman's - and the other band members' - lyrics seem to be a way of working through for themselves the tensions inherent in their career/ministry, calling on themselves to keep the focus on what is right and true, above all on love... love of God, love of their fellow human beings.…

What makes you come alive?

Here's the first of a selection of devotions from those lovely people at DVO that I have found spiritually nourishing in recent weeks. This first one takes the same approach to vocation as I do when taking to pupils in school, using as a starting point that which fires us up, about which we are passionate.

January 5, 2017

Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.

Jer 1:5 (MSG)


What makes you come alive?

What do you find yourself dreaming about? Or gravitating to whenever you have spare time? What brings you joy? What makes your blood boil? What would get you out of bed in the middle of the night?

Before you or I had any material form, somehow we existed in the heart and imagination of God.

He said to Jeremiah,

"Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations—that's what I had in mind for you." Jeremiah 1:5 (MSG)

The things that naturally…

Tenth Avenue North - Fighting For You (Official Lyric Video)

My favourite track from Tenth Avenue North's latest album.

I Am They - Your Love Is Mine (Official Music Video)

I love this wonderfully catchy, prayerful song from I am They:

And here's a lovely live take of their song "King Of Love":

Getting skeptical about climate change skeptics

Here’s an informative and useful website for those who are looking to arm themselves againts climate change deniers.
The ending of the article provides a common sense perspective on the agenda of many of those in apparent denial:

"Regarding who to believe about global warming, consider this simple analogy. If I want to know how to fix my plumbing, I will call a plumber, not a climate scientist. But if I want to know if all the hoopla about global warming is real and should we do something about it, it seems like common sense to ask a climate scientist, not the Coal Lobby, or the American Petroleum Institute,…"

Tenth Avenue North - I Have This Hope (Official Music Video)

Another song for those who might be weighed down by the struggles and challenges of life from the great Tenth Avenue North.

Switchfoot - "I Won't Let You Go" (Live in NYC)

It's been a while, but I'm catching up tonight on a few odd jobs, including sharing some videos, articles, etc... that I've wanted to put on here over the last month or two, starting with this spine-tingling live rendition of a track from Switchfoot's latest album.

There are times when I most definitely need to hear these words...