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.

A veces sufrir te enseña vivir*

*Sometimes suffering teaches you to live

I said to God

Give me the gift of prophecy.


I wanna prophesy.

(That sounds cool)

And then I get to be right.



says God

You wanna be a prophet?

You can be a prophet.

Off you go.

Dream dreams. See wrongdoings.

Get mad at injustice and do crazy things.

Fall in love… With those who don’t reciprocate

Who disregard or exploit your affection

and cause you unrevealed depths of pain.

That is what it means to be prophetic.

It’s not about crystal balls

unless you mean in terms of courage

It’s being deliberately impolite

a deliverer of uncomfortable truths

and it’s certainly not glamorous.


But when you get fed up

remember, Jonah

what happened to Nineveh

even contrary to your expectations.

The Leaving Do

It is the Thursday before the Bank Holiday weekend, and Josh Davis, his best mate Simon, and at least ten other close work friends (the ladies would join them later) are going out for Josh’s leaving drinks.
Josh has booked a table upstairs at a nearby bar and arranged for some drinks and a modest spread (bread, olives, houmous or guacamole, and a few bottles of wine).

Josh has a close band of mates in the office which he has formed fast friendships with since he started work there three years ago. They hang out together over lunch, go away together, joining forces to advise their fellow employees on a healthy work-life balance and the best ways to work and solve problems around the office. As a result, Josh and his gang have become enormously popular amongst his colleagues. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the, well, if not corrupt then definitely rather self-interested, middle management. Initially they appreciated Josh’s fixing, as they had less to deal with, but now that he is the one everyone goes to to sort things out, rather than them, they are considerably less keen. Worried that he could stir up resentment against management and lose them their bonuses, they have had meetings about how to deal with him. Perplexingly, Josh has never officially applied for a management role, which is on the one hand a relief, since they know he is more than qualified and they’d have little ground for turning him down. On the other, at least if he did they’d have an excuse to put him in his place.

Unfortunately, as it is, they can’t do much about it since the once self-sufficient company was recently bought out by a large conglomerate who, as well as taking the lion’s share of the profits, want all hiring and firing run past them first.

As it happens, Josh’s mum, María, who works in the building, started at one of the larger comglomerate’s office as a contracted cleaner aged 16. A Filipina teenager, who never went to uni or had anything much going for her except her ability to knuckle down, she was treated kindly by the CEO who, over the next few years, noticed her quiet hard work day after day. He made sure she had a permanent contract direct to him, a pension and maternity cover, which was much better than the zero hours one she had had with the cleaning contractors. When Josh was a toddler, political unrest and xenophobic attacks broke out in that part of the country, so the CEO arranged for a transfer to another office abroad. They eventually returned to his hometown, and after a short apprenticeship, Josh started working at the office too. Everyone says María is the luckiest cleaner in the world; others say she must have gained that favour by giving some sort of special favours of her own, if you know what I mean…

The CEO is a figure fairly poorly known, but is said to be generally fair and decent. He recently seems to have left the day-to-day running of everything to the middle managers. But some reckon he’s not as hands-off as he appears. They’re not wrong; in fact, the CEO has sent in someone close to him, in secret, to experience things out on the ‘shop floor’, from the point of view of the employees.

Unbeknownst to all but his tight-knit little gang (though strongly suspected by many others), Josh is that someone.


Ceasefire for the Sexes

I hate what we have become

Us siblings

Pitted against each other from puberty

Either divided and ruling

Or divisive and ruled.

Missing out on mutual flourishing

A destructive relationship

if ever there was one.


Men have blamed women always –

it was Adam’s second sin in the garden –

And then women were cursed to desire and resent them.

But we were (re)born to go beyond our ancestors

and to trust and understand what once they feared.


And we can fear to love because we think that love is unclean.

Yet surely it cannot be purity

When we distance those who give us life.

It insults the very Gospel

of the Son of Man who spent time with women

and looked to their souls not their sex.


I know of these things only partly

And often through a screen darkly, but

The way I’ve come to think is that

Sex should not be a battleground.

We are more united and

diversity is in high demand.

I don’t want to fight or fear my brothers

and we shouldn’t need to fear all attraction.


How I wish that sex would once again just mean


and not war.