An Irish Man Interprets the World

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...

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...

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 route to Jerusalem, tweeted two disciples an odd...

One child dies every minute: 10 incredible facts about water…

On one side of the world:

8 billion people, around 1 in 6 people, drinks water contaminated with faeces.[1]

 

More people have access to mobile phones than working toilets. Only a third of the population of India has access to adequate sanitation.[2]

 

In 76% of households, women and children bear the primary...

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...

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 supplies on the...

Happy Pie Day! Why pies have saved lives…

Today is National Pie Day in the USA. It’s not to be confused with the number Pi, or the film the Life of Pi, which focusses more on being stuck in a lifeboat with a tiger! It’s genuinely a day celebrating the symbolic, economic, and tasty qualities of pie! It’s sponsored by the American Pie Council (such an organisation does exist!), which...

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 Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar...

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 slaves celebrated New Year’s...

Running out of soil?

Do we feed landfill sites better than the starving?

Did you see last Friday’s cartoon? The statistic is startling. The United Nations confirms that 12 million hectares of land useful farming land is lost each year.[1] That’s an area almost one and a half times the size of Ireland.

There are only 150 million km2 of land area in the entire world. 34% of that is hostile to vegetation and therefore unusable.[2] A...

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...

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

– Mother Teresa