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 quote Lara Flynn Boyle,...

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...

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...

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 to sense the pain this would usually cause. Once his condition, congenital analgesia, had been...

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...

4 Challenges Mothers face worldwide

Lethal risks during pregnancy: In the USA, as a result of pregnancy-related causes, 28 women die per 100,000 births, which, to compare, is a higher rate than Thailand (26 deaths), Iran (23) and Saudi Arabia (16). Eastern European nations Poland (3) and Bulgaria (5) have considerably lower rates than both the UK (8) and Ireland (9).[1] As...

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...

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...

Hinamatsuri Stand

Happy Hina-matsuri!

Yesterday was Hina-matsuri, otherwise known as “the Doll’s Festival”, in Japan. Families construct seven-tiered stands onto which they place Hina-ningyo: dolls made especially for the festival. They carefully arrange figurines representing the old Emperor and Empress and the imperial household. The display can even include lampstands, models of...

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 fasting. After using up food...

Can politics really bring about change? The story of Barbados…

Today is Errol Barrow’s birthday. It’s a public holiday in Barbados. It’s a reminder that effective political change can come without violence, terrorism or war. It’s also a reminder that political inertia and bureaucracy can be overcome. It’s a reminder that, used properly and effectively, democracy works.

Born in Barbados in...

Reflecting on Paris

Volumes and volumes have already been written about the events in Paris last week. There is little I can add to the discussion. But, I prayerfully remember God’s command, through the writings of St. Paul in his letter to the early Christian community in Rome, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15) True love and...

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...

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...

Expensive Mocha...

Don’t spill that Mocha!

What could you buy with €1? Most places in Ireland wouldn’t even give you a glass of lemonade for this price, let alone a Mocha coffee! Yet for a quarter of India, a quarter of a billion people, this is the reality at good times. Spilling a Mocha coffee could signify starvation for half a week! How much do we really value fairness?

Any thoughts on this...

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

– Mother Teresa