If a tree falls, or Modern Existential Philosophy pt. I

If a brunch happens in a cafe

and nobody there Instagrams it

Did it really happen?


If your friendship is not enshrined online

alongside a line gushingly praising mine

are we even good friends?


If you ask me how my day was

standing unmoved, face downwards, tapping at your phone

would you notice if I said anything strange?


If I say I am a Christian

but in no way behave differently in public from any other Clapham yuppie

(bar maybe not sleeping with folks unmarried)

am I really a Christian?


If you claim to know Good News(TM)

that is life-giving and exciting

but you do not get round to telling anyone

as you are too busy socialising with others from your holy huddle

Is it really good news

and do I believe it?

If someone complains about a problem that threatens people’s lives

inattention to which is clearly selfish, but also easy and cheap,

and I decide to ignore and disregard it,

does the problem go away?


If a woman walked away from a church

and nobody paid any attention

was she ever there at all?


The Grenfell Tower Beatitudes

Just perfectly said and summing up my mood.

His Light Material

The Grenfell Tower BeatitudesIs this the moment? Is this the hour? When all our ungerminated seeds of justice flower?Is this the day our myopic consumer bubble finally bursts?Is this the moment the sublimated cry of those whose voiceIs stepped on, stopped up, silenced, sidelinedBreaks through and slakes its thirst? Might this be, for all its visceral, pain and lossAnd all its tears and grief and monumental human cost, All the hideous detailed traumatic tales and horror stories, All its blackened, choked up smoked infernoOf misery, cheap industry, colonial history, ignominy,All its horror at the thought of flames rising rapidly on those       who never had much choice, Might this be the moment where people of poverty, dignity       and community find our voice? And when we do – clearing our collective lungs, Coughing up the blackened phlegm, Crying past the…

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Ever since the first invasion

There has been a crossing here.

Even as you seek to shake it

London disregards your fear.


Linking North and Southwark shores

Bringing trade and people through

Sharing wealth’s the bridge’s bounty

for our many, not your few.


You have taken from our numbers

Tried to quell us, make us quiet

But watch us keeping London open

Pubs and cafes trade, defiant.


We may be made of flesh but there’s

resilience in human spirit

And at Pentecost today we welcome

the One who all in Christ inherit.


We can all be London Bridges

Span the tides that isolate

Meet ‘the other’, natural stranger

Learn to love – and laugh at hate.


Manchester Monday

Just another

Manchester Monday.

Children with their families

enjoying themselves.


Just another

tragedy breaking.

Could be here or



Just another

mother mourning.

Broken hearts and

empty beds.


Just another

opportunity to reach out.

Go offer free lifts, blood,

holy hospitality.


Just another

reason for hatred.

But nothing ever changes

if you choose that.


Just another

explanation given.

But it’ll never make sense

whatever you say.


Just another

time for mourning.

Not a new thing

but still so raw.


Just another

Manchester Tuesday.

Today will be awful

but life WILL go on.

Pot, kettle, jar of clay

I know we’re both somewhat losers, a mess of bloodied bandages, soul bruises and injuries

(self-inflicted as much as not).

And maybe I’m but a blackened pot.

Look, I know it’s tough and confusing and it hurts and you’ve had enough of uncertainty and pain

and you want to stay where you’ve lain in the messy bed which you’ve made

and never want to open your wounds to anyone again – I know.

And God knows I’m probably the last person you’d pick to do this job,

but we know that God often picks that last person and they do the job best.

Because they understand, like Gideon, it’s not from them, this treasure in their chest

that they are just a jar of clay

yet maybe,

just maybe they can show the other how they shine.


2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NLT)

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

(The Message)

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.

Physical Geography of loss

This blue of you

Is a pale moonlight shade

Silvery, ephemeral


as indelible

as the smell of you

Your hug left on my hair

The night you said goodbye.


I catch your scent

on strangers on the train

And wafting past me at the station.

It makes me want to cry

But in a way I can’t get enough of

And the work of withdrawal

is undone in a moment.


For this love has always been glacial

My heart like a rock it eroded little by little

A steady attrition by trickle

My heart swelling as I see you and

contracting as you go

The cracks it has left in me

Once again wide open

And aching to the wind.

Hope in a half rhyme

Be encouraged

even as the rich work to discourage

the free exercise of our hard-won suffrage

Yes, even though the worst flourish we have courage

‘cos we got love on our side

it’s our porridge

daily fuel for our fight

faith not might

and we have all see wrongs we can right.