There are few of us who either enter or leave this world without its presence. In between, the NHS is there for broken bones, depression, ingrowing toenails, heart attacks, cancer and all the diverse pain, fear and suffering of our lives' journeys.
Shortly after Christmas 1914, an order was issued by John French, the general in charge of the British troops on the Western Front. He had heard of the informal truces that had broken out along the front on Christmas Day. He ordered that such events must never be repeated. A year later, ahead of the following Christmas, soldiers were reminded that they would be charged with disobeying orders if there was another truce.
In recent years, Britain has slowly begun to wake up to the reality of sexual abuse. The Jimmy Saville scandal triggered shocking revelations about abuse carried out by respected entertainers in the 1970s and 80s. Child abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church have been followed by increased reports of similar outrages in the Church of England. Only this week, it was revealed that the Scout Association had paid out thousands to settle legal cases brought by survivors of sexual abuse.
A US Senate report revealing widespread use of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency has stirred up heated debate. International human rights activists have called for those responsible to be held to account, though CIA director John Brennan has defended the agency’s record.
Many Christians regard their wedding day as one of the most joyful, and spiritually significant, in their lives. Those preparing to celebrate marriage are part of the body of the church, whose other members may wish to rejoice with and support them as they make a costly, as well as fulfilling, commitment.
Media coverage of the Feeding Britain report left me feeling dismayed, as the central, indeed the only issue, the scandal of people going hungry in 21st century Britain, was obscured by a shoal of red herrings.
Before coming to Ekklesia, I worked for many years in social care. I loved the work (mainly in services for adults with learning disabilities), though it was not without challenges. The biggest of which, was the constant scrabble to make money stretch as far as it could. Though this was less evident in the times of plenty than it is in today’s Austerity Britain, I’ve never known a year when we weren’t asked to do a little bit more for the same amount of money. A trend which in the last few years has shifted towards being asked to do a whole lot more for a whole lot less.
Today (Monday 8 March 2014) an All Party Parliamentary Inquiry has published an extensive report into causes of food poverty in the UK and has suggested some responses. Campaigners from End Hunger Fast were invited to the initial launch of this report so here are some reflections on where it has ended up and what that means for the rest of us.