An Irish Man Interprets the World

Storytelling and Same-sex Marriage

The persuasive Irish have perfected their use of stories. They use the power of language to carefully craft detailed images and metaphors, to evoke emotion, or make a point, where non-fiction would struggle. Our poets, authors and songwriters have been perfecting that craft for centuries.

In Ireland, such storytelling is a great national tradition. To...

A Story of Everyday Heroes

A little north of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, you’ll find the small Postman’s Park. Nestled beneath an unassuming wooden shelter, there is a wall with a series of 54 tiles. Each one carries at least one name, every name the name of a hero who laid down life to save another. Surprisingly, many are the names of children.

This...

What is going on in this picture?

Can you make sense of this picture? It is April Fool’s Day, but the above image is taken naturally, and has had no computer-generated alteration…

Three questions:

What about the pool? It looks like this artist worked with a sculpted pool. Perhaps he created it, or perhaps he worked with something already there… Yet water surely isn’t naturally that...

The Pain of Painlessness

Imagine having a condition which meant you are unable to feel pain. It sounds blissful.

Yet, for Steven and his brother, this was far from the case.[1] When he was 4-5 months old, he began chewing on his tongue as he was teething, unable...

If Jesus had an iPhone on Palm Sunday…

What would the Social Media universe have looked like if the people watching Jesus riding into Jerusalem were busy on their phones? Well, if anyone ever goes back in a time machine and gives Jesus’ disciples iPhones, maybe these sort of things are what you would see…

 

It all started when Jesus, en route...

GDP vs. Gross Domestic Happiness?

When did you last see a headline celebrating a growth in GDP as a major success for a country? A falling GDP is part of what it means to be in ‘recession’ – that dreaded word that has haunted Western economies for the past few years. If a recession is severe enough (if GDP falls more than 10%), it becomes labelled the even more ominous term, ‘depression’. This...

Why does an extra X chromosome make such a difference?

Sunday was International Women’s Day.  It adopted the strapline “Make it Happen”. It’s a clear statement that enough talking has been done – it’s time to ensure gender equality.   What is gender? When we’re born, whether we are male or female depends on whether we end up possessing a slightly different strand of DNA. If a baby has two ‘X’...

6 reasons why Climate Change is an urgent Human Rights issue…

Climate Change. What comes to mind? Protesters tying banners on factory chimneys? Radical environmentalists? Al Gore? When one sees the issues of the world, from child soldiers to mass oppression to even genocide, why do we need to worry about whether the summer is going to be a little hotter next year?

Climate change...

Could you patent the sun? The Beginning of the End for Polio…

The 1952 polio epidemic killed 3,145 and paralysed 21,269 men, women and children in the US.  Two years later, on 23 February 1954, Virologist Jonas Salk brought a glimmer of hope to Pittsburgh.  On this day,  61 years ago, the first large-scale inoculations of children began today. Just over a year later, the vaccine was declared by the University of Michigan to be ‘safe and...

Ash Wednesday – The “Bright Sorrow”

For some it’s little more than a curiosity following Pancake day. For others it’s a time of deep searching and resolution.

Yesterday, Ash Wednesday marked the first day of Lent, a period commemorating the time spent by Jesus in reflection wandering through the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Traditionally, Lent is remembered with...

Happy Old New Year…

Today would have been the date St Patrick, Jonathan Swift and William Shakespeare celebrated as New Year’s Day. You and I might say it’s the 14th January, but according to the Julian calendar, today is 1st January.

For some Orthodox Christian communities, yesterday was still 2014, and today begins 2015. the...

Is this a distantly-related cousin?

Do we have the right to eradicate diseases?

180 years ago today, 7th January 1835, HMS Beagle dropped anchor on the Chonos Archipelago. Charles Darwin was on board. He would spend the next number of weeks conducting research. By November 1859, Darwin had published ‘On the Origin of Species’. His book transformed the study of the natural sciences.

Darwin’s central thesis argued that...

Children of Cape Town

Celebrating Kaapse Klopse…

On 2nd January every year, the streets of Cape Town, South Africa, are filled with ecstatic crowds. It’s the Kaapse Klopse (‘Cape Clubs’) carnival, a time of joyful music, bright costumes, and unified community.

Kaapse Klopse has its roots in the regrettable days of slavery. Until the 1830s, slavery was common in South African society. Like us, the...

No longer defined by disability?

No longer defined by disability?

Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The precise title of the day is important. It represents a progressive move in language and understanding: no person is fundamentally ‘disabled’. There are, more correctly, ‘persons with disabilities”. There are many things I can’t do. To start that list, let’s just say any sport that requires hand-eye...

“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for, and deserted by everybody.”

– Mother Teresa