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November 2016



Santa 5

“Santa Claus is comin' and the kids are gettin' greedy
It's Christmas time
They know what's in the stores 'cause they seen it on the TV
It's Christmas time, it's Christmas time
It used to be the birthday of the Man who saved our necks
It's Christmas time
Now it stands for Santa Claus they spell it with an X
It's Christmas time, it's Christmas time...”

          From Christmas Time by Larry Norman

This is the first song I think about every time Christmas seems to be running down the track before us. The Stockies start to listen to our Christmas playlists on December 1st. I immediately hear “Santa Claus is comin' and the kids are gettin' greedy/It's Christmas time.”

Usually the Santa Claus Christmas appears before we reach the Christian Advent Christmas. The first leaf is usually the stores piling the Christmas offers onto the shelves, the adverts starting on the TV and the far too early lighting up of Christmas trees in City centres. 

And don’t get me wrong I love the Holiday Season Christmas. I like, even now, writing my Santa letter, at least filling a Santa check out at Amazon. I love Mince Pies. Forgive me, but I love Egg Nog Lattes in Starbucks. I love the warm and feely family closeness. I love Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody and Wizzard’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day. The benefits of being 11 in 1973!

In Advent sermons I am often warning my community in Fitzroy to separate the two Christmas templates. Enjoy both for sure I encourage but I also warn that the vital thing is to make sure that the Christian Advent influences the Holiday Season and not the other way around.

I am keen that we as a Jesus following community take a Lenten approach to Advent. It is important to find the spiritual discipline of this season and to take time to reflect on the Biblical story, to read ourselves into that story and to take the waiting time of Advent to surmise the state of our souls. 

The Advent Scriptures are so rich and deep in meaning, in challenge and inspiration. Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph, Zechariah, Herod, the shepherds and the mystical stargazers. Then, God born as a vulnerable baby, facing death squads and being scurried off to Egypt as a refugee. Goodness me! 

So this Christmas, as the Holiday Season version hurtles forward, catching you in its slipstream and near throwing you over in its ferocity… breathe in… breathe out… and take time to surmise the eternal story of love and grace. God moved in amongst us. Surmise the long term connotations of this amazing truth so that, after the Seasonal one is put away for another year, we have the lasting impact of the Advent one on our lives and communities.



Blood Oranges

The genius of Over The Rhine’s Christmas records is not just that they put the emotions and stories of the rest of the year into the Christmas story, it is that they also put the Christmas story into the rest of the year. This is why I can with integrity listen to their Christmas records, particularly Snow Angels and this new one Blood Oranges In The Snow, in November. Actually you could listen to these songs in July and not feel it out of sync. 

Blood Oranges In The Snow come in their usual organic and rustic Americana beauty, laying a musical foundation for Karin Berquist’s angelic voice through which they deliver poetry pretty much unequalled among their peers. That poetry is permeated with depth of human experience. 

These particular songs are suffused with a melancholy that peels back the sentimentality of Christmas that even Christmas carols have yielded to the temptation of. In these songs people lose parents, are struggling with drink and homelessness. There is a world at war in the very place the Christ child was born to bring peace. These are songs that expose the sadness and weariness of a world on the brink of hopelessness.

Yet, there is hope being marinated through the whole batch. Grace is a baby in straw; old hymns around the fire; sparkling rumours of redemption at play; faint Christmas bells; confidence and grace; a hope for all mankind; biblical verse in neon above the trash; bright future in a checkered past. 

Right in the middle is Over the Rhine's finest moment; Let It Fall. How many time have I listened to this song as a prayer, as a meditation, as a sermon in the beauty of melody. A song for those who have lost, who are trying too hard. A song that runs us back to the heart of the Advent and the best advice you'll hear this December: 

"‘Cause rain and leaves
And snow and tears and stars
And that’s not all my friend
They all fall with confidence and grace
So let it fall, let it fall"

I love the warm fire, family together, nicely decorated, Santa calling, presents opening, turkey eating Christmas. However, there is so much more. If you lean in and listen you will hear the possibilities of something new. Something earth shattering has hit the world in the image of a soft baby in straw. It is such a deeply resonating thing that it should not be contained to a couple of weeks of the year. It should be sprinkled across the whole year like the sparkling rumours of redemption mentioned on this record. That is what Over The Rhine do. Christmas songs for all year round; for that is what Christmas should be.



Deacon Blue Christmas

The Christmas music has started... everywhere! So you will need a little discerning healthy tunes of soul for the Advent season...

It is probably time for Deacon Blue to collect all their Christmas songs into an album... Until they do... playlist these songs this Christmas...



You want to display your charms
On this bright night
You want to display your charms
Over these circus Christmas lights



“They could hear choirs, those heavenly choirs 
Choirs of angels, those heavenly choirs...”



“If there’s a star in the sky

If the air is filled the mystery

If there’s a babe in the Church with a choir”



And nothing's clear I guess a miracle's the only thing
That's ever going to work here
We stayed awake one starry night
Just to watch the sky turn and change and aim...
You got to go back, gotta go back, gotta go back in time
To Bethlehem
To begin again


STARSTRUCK (Deacon Blue)

“Mother’s still feeling sore

Daddy’s looking sheepish

A little unsure”


CALVARY (Ricky Ross)

“A Baby comes, folks don't sleep
Those shepherds keep you up later than you meant to be
One child's grows and people notice
he's breaking chains
and making poor folks' lives so heavenly 
(the way it's meant to be)”


HOLY NIGHT (Ricky Ross)

“Holy, holy night
Three tired travellers
Move till morning
One drives, two hold fast
To gifts and bags
And memories
Of holy, holy nights”



“The world groans and strains
For the hope of a time
Like a prayer that
Is wished and willed
To exist”



“We're deep in the heart of town (just a few)
Miles from where you stay
But it's coming near Christmas time
And I can't help wondering if you know
The way from yours to mine
When the streets are covered in snow”



“What last most myth or memory

Or this world born again...

Were you here in Scotland’s winter snow”



The Believers
Know that it's going to get better
You better
Believe it
Cause no one here will ever forget you
Not let you
We're believers



“The Campsies over Christmas

And I still dream of Memphis”



The church bells in town
All ringing in song
Full of happy sounds
Baby please come home”



“The champion of love
The queen of the new year”


Winter trees

I wrote this one afternoon at one of our favourite north coast haunts; Murlough Bay.

Being winter the trees stood out. Without their leaves, they looked like little sketches. I imagined their shaping by the wind off the sea, years in the sculpting. I think that an album by County Antrim singer Bob Speers called Northland was inspiring me. I think I also might have lost the run of myself and considered being influenced by Seamus Heaney!

The preacher side then took over and I started surmising my own life and how the Holy Spirit was shaping me by the long consistent blowing across my life. Eugene Peterson's Long Obedience In The Same Direction book on the Psalms of Ascent is in there too.

I had the privilege of joining it up with a lovely song by Sam Hill called Listen To the Breeze and it went on our album under the moniker Stevenson and Samuel called Grace Notes... 

Winter trees on a north coast headland

That drops into Murlough bay

Asking mystical questions

With  the serenity of their gentle sway

And I'm fascinated by the mystery

Did God peer down then bending

Pencil sketch them in the cloak of darkness

Or the distraction of the sun descending

They are so skilfully shaped like dancers

So brilliantly and beautifully bent

And I’m sure there ain’t no short cut

But a long slow consistent dent

And what of my life landscape

Do I stand there the shape of intrigue

Evidence of what can’t be seen

Like these winter trees?


Sands So Far

How thrilled was I, as the minister of Fitzroy, that our wee Welcome Area venue played host to Sofar Belfast last night. Sofar is a fascinating global phenomenon invading secret venues with great music in 291 cities across the world. 

The Sofar deal is as follows. If you are a fan you trust the branding. You book on line and on the day of the event you get a message telling you where the gig is and who is playing. In Belfast, they do, at the moment,  actually announce the artists ahead of time, BUT yesterday a message went out that last night’s Sofar Belfast was in Fitzroy. Our Welcome Area is a perfect little venue for such an event and was cosily full. 

To be truthful I was gutted. I turned up late and missed Chris Wilson. I have been a fan of Chris since I first heard him open his mouth. He is heading back to Indiana after gifting Belfast his voice and songs for a couple of years and this was my last chance to hear him. Having heard him many times I know he will have blown some people away with the power of that voice, when he stood away from the mic there his head back and let himself go, and tender vulnerable songs like Fragile and Lower.

I did get in in time for Na Leanaí. The name means “the young ones” and these guys are the children of the Sands Family, a folk dynasty from Rostrevor. Hearing the Sands name brought me to attention but to be fair even I hadn’t been taken by the name the first few seconds of their set had me spellbound. The harmonies, with that Irish lilt to it, stilled the room with their Irish language version of the traditional Peigín Leitir Móir. Utterly beautiful.

After a wee trad tune that showed off their playing they introduced the anti-war song The Crow and The Cradle. Goodness. I know and love the Jackson Browne and Graham Nash version that they performed at the No Nukes concerts in 1979. As Na Leanaí sang I realised I might be the only one in the room old enough to sing along. Yet, the message of what war does to the next generations was more poignant than ever coming from the mouths of the young ones of Tommy and Colum Sands who have sung songs of protest and songs for peace and reconciliation for decades.

Na Leanaí ended their set with a David Ramirez song Find The Light. I was first amazed that I had never heard of Ramirez, not many such songwriters get passed the songwriter-fan-nerd in me. Then the first verse knocked me dead: 


“I wish upon you peace

I wish upon you grace

I wish for less of what you want

And more of what you need


You’ll find the light

You’ll find the light”


We were in my Church Welcome Area. No more spiritual benediction could be brought… and in such a masterful way. 


Last up… and more harmonies. Something of a music revival must be happening up the East Antrim. As if Ben Glover success in Nashville was not enough for a wee village like Glenarm here were a bunch more of their sons making the most exquisitely beautiful noise. Runabay is all about harmonies and cello and the gentlest of laid back groove. There’s a wee hint of Sufjan Stevens’ voice without all the production clutter. 

They reminded me of Belfast’s Lowly Knights, how we miss them, in their size of numbers, cello and organic almost rustic feel. When the harmonies moved it was like the sound of a gentle wave caressing the east Antrim coast just after nightfall. The harmonies these boys conjure are extraordinary. Beautiful and soothing. All I Know from the new EP with it’s call to listen in the fade out, Cold Outside and the encore Moon Turns Blue were particular highlights.

So, my first Sofar experience. Can’t recommend it enough. Delighted of course our venue did a great job but more exciting I am home with Eps and albums of music I am thrilled to have discovered. 


Thanksgiving 2

Thank you for the way you make your light to shine

In between the shadows in the back of my mind

Thank you for the children and the love I've found

Thank you from my heart, thank you from my heart

Thank you for the way you make the music play

In between the quiet on a beautiful day

Thank you for the meaning in the things we say

Thank you from my heart, thank you from my heart

Let there be light, let there be love, let there be space

Let all the water flow together through the ether and gather in a beautiful place

Let there be earth, let there be sea, let there be sky

Let all the water flow together through the ether and gather over you and I

       - from Thank You by Ben Kyle

What a great song for an Irish boy to send my American friends this Thanksgiving; the song of a Belfast boy now based in Minneapolis. Ben Kyle’s eponymous first solo record was a gem. This year he followed it up with a Romantica record Shadowlands that will be in the high echelons of my albums of the year. So, happy thanksgiving American buddies!

Thanksgiving is a time for spiritual audit, reflection and thanksgiving. The world we live in is so crammed full of events that are loud, bright and speeding so fast that the discipline of thanksgiving is lost.

So, our American brothers and sisters have something right when they stop for a day and ponder. I know many friends who when gathered around the table to eat that turkey, and no doubt some pumpkin pie, share with each other what they are most thankful for.

Thank You is one of the highlights from Ben's solo album. It is the song of a man counting his many blessings. Kyle’s work reveals that those blessings for him start at home with wife, children, parents, siblings before they work out into everything else that God has lavished on his western life.

As Ben thanks God for the music in this lyric so I give thanks for Ben's music and all the other music that fuels my life and vocation. Today I will play this song and surmise all of the things that I am thankful to God for. The number of you who take the time to read my blog is one of them. Thank you!




Fr Alec

I have always found the challenge of following Jesus to be one that needs courage; if we live it out it is bound to lead us into danger. Attempting to follow Jesus in the midst of Northern Ireland’s divided and often violently bloody context makes it even more precarious as a life option. “Love your enemies” has always been a phrase of Christ’s that haunts me, jolts my prejudice and pricks the conscience when I opt for comfortable Churchianity! Since the moment I took a decision to follow Jesus in 1979 I have lived under the authority of that phrase though the majority of my fellow followers have never encouraged me and, indeed, anytime I have attempted peacemaking I have been made me feel like a heretic.

Watching 14 Days on BBC Northern Ireland a few years back was the most powerful sermon on following Jesus I have experienced in a long, long time. In March 1988 Belfast was on the very brink of becoming a bloody war zone. Murder followed murder, many of them televised. Tensions were higher than maybe ever in an already murderous twenty years of Troubles. In the midst of the darkness, a candle flickered. One man was not prepared to let go of the hope he believed Jesus came to bring. One man was prepared to literally lay his life on the line to change the circumstances he was living in. That man was Fr Alec Reid, a Redemptorist Brother from Clonard Monastery on the Falls Road. 14 Days followed the news bulletins of those days and in between followed this courageous follower of Jesus as he... followed Jesus!

When Michael Stone opened fire and threw grenades into a crowd of mourners at an IRA Funeral, Fr Reid was standing beside Gerry Adams, who was perhaps the target of Stone’s bullets. As angry mourners chased Stone Fr Reid felt they would kill him and told Adams he wanted to get down and stand between them. Adams told him he was mad. Whether he was mad or not wasn’t what concerned Fr Alec Reid. If following Jesus was mad then mad was what he had to be.

A few days later he was back in the funeral cortege of those whom Stone had murdered. During this funeral, two members of the British army found themselves in the midst of a tense crowd and when a gun appeared the crowd thought that another Stone incident was about to go down and dragged the soldiers from the car and murdered them. Fr Reid tried to get between the angry crowd and the soldiers, was threatened with his life but ended up in a back alley giving one of the dying men the kiss of life and last rites. It was mad in its bravery. It was what Jesus would have done but only one follower that I know did.

In that moment when death reigned, Fr Alec Reid had in his hand a now blood covered statement from Sinn Fein of what would be needed to bring peace. He had been given it at the funeral. He delivered it to SDLP leader John Hume and the peace process was given life. The flicker of the candle that was Fr Alec Reid lit up Northern Ireland towards the bright new dawn of the cease fires some years later.

The BBC’s programme was brilliant; poignant and moving. For those of us prepared to relive the horror of those 14 days we got to find hope. I found myself realising that I was now in the story. Two of the contributors were my predecessor in Fitzroy, Ken Newell, and a colleague in the Clonard/Fitzroy fellowship, Fr Gerry Reynolds. That Clonard/Fitzroy fellowship became such a part of the peace story that they received the Pax Christi, Vatican Peace Prize. I found myself speaking at the Clonard Monastery Novena a couple of years ago. There were no bloodied dead bodies around me and no gunmen in sight but it only happened after twenty years of building up the courage.

In 14 Days Fr Reid suggests that it is too easy to just be a Church leader who does liturgy. He felt that if there is violence on the street and people were being killed that it was the job of a Priest to be involved in stopping it. Fr Gerry Reynolds quoted the Beatitudes as the reason to be peacemakers. I grew up in a place where Catholics like Fr Reid and Fr Reynolds would not even have been recognised as Christian! When I told a friend that I thought Fitzroy might ask me to think about being their minister he replied, “You wouldn’t want to go there; they talk to Catholics!”

In the book of Acts people are called Christians by those who watch them and see Christ in their actions. How dare anyone suggest that Fr Alec Reid shouldn’t be called a Christian? It is the rest of us who need to reassess! When I visit Clonard I feel privileged to walk where Fr Alec Reid walked, I feel embarrassed at my efforts at peacemaking but I feel inspired by the example of one man who was prepared to deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Jesus.


Narnia Pool

I love CS Lewis’s Magician’s Nephew. It is the first venture into Narnia and this journey was not through the Wardrobe but by magic rings transporting Polly and Digory through a manky pool into this big new world. Even better when I shared some of the following blog at a Sunday service in Campbell College recently, the headmaster took me straight out of the building took me to that manky pool. Right there in a school in East Belfast, where Lewis played as a boy.

Lewis, as a man of his age, becomes a little sexist in this transportation story. On arriving in Narnia, Polly, the girl, is immediately a little frightened and wants to jump back into the little pond and head back to safety and normality. Digory though, in his macho stereotype role, proves courageous and brave. With an adventurous spirit Digory declares, There's not much point in finding a magic ring that lets you into other worlds if you're afraid to look at them when you've got there." I love that!

There are a lot of Pollys in the Church. Most of them men! Many people are happy to have the rings to the Kingdom BUT are concerned about safety. They are like the guys in Jesus parable who are given a talent and dig a hole and bury it. The Master returns and is angry with their conservative playing safe. The talent has not been lost and damaged but it is whipped away from them and given to those who were brave and a little risky with their talents. 

Safety is not an attribute in the Kingdom of God. There is no one from Genesis to Revelation who plays it safe and gets any credit at all from God. It is the reckless, who risked and at times got it way wrong, find themselves in God’s list of heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. 

When we are born again into a whole new life and Kingdom, God does not want us to remain in the maternity ward obsessed with that rebirth. He longs for those who enter the Kingdom to head further up and further in. He longs that they would grow up again and head out into that Kingdom, to discover the dangerous terrain that God would long to redeem. There would not be much point of Jesus coming to live and die and be raised to life again in order to let us into a new Kingdom if we are afraid to explore that new Kingdom when grace throws us right into it.


Cockburn Prays

This was an array of thoughts on Bruce Cockburn, mystery and faith as much as a review of his 2006 album Life's Short, Call Now. Written in the context of the mystical scenic beauty of Cape Town it does express my thankfulness that Bruce Cockburn lives and works on our planet!

I found myself in Cape Town gazing from my apartment across to The Lions Head, companion to the magnificent Table Mountain. When it comes to sunsets though The Lions Head beats its more prestigious buddy with swathes, swirls and washes of colour drifting around it at the end of daylight.

It’s a mystical vision of God at his easel throwing us humans another sweet surprise of beauty. Anyway, as I sat there I sought a soundtrack, a help in my untangling of the mystery and wonder; something to make sense of it but to aid the mortal mind to describe it. What music? Who?

Which is how I found myself rediscovering the masterpiece that is Dancing By The Dragon’s Jaw by Bruce Cockburn. This album was my introduction to the Canadian mystic way back in 1981. In Mandala Street, about 20 yards from where I would end up working, some Queens University Medics had a house that had their alarm clock wired up to a magnificent stereo system and Alan McIlroy was going about his efforts to convert me to guitar genius of Mr Cockburn.

Eventually I was won over by the lyrical splendor of his poetry. Here I was in Cape Town nearly 25 years later rediscovering it. Every song seemed to be gazing at the same scene as me. The finger dancing melodies running across the fret board of my soul evoking the awe. The poetry perfectly giving my brain words to latch onto in some hopefulness of explanation. And it was every song. How I’d forgotten songs that had once been every day meditations; Creation Dream, Hills Of Morning, After The Rain, No Footprints and the best known Wondering Where The Lions Are. It was the best kind of spiritual moment.

It was literally a coincidence that my wife had just brought me the promo of Cockburn’s new album when she joined me in Cape Town; a beautiful surprise, indeed. And more beautiful the surprise was that there were echoes of Dancing in the Dragons Jaw in the acoustic sound.

Cockburn can make an acoustic guitar jig and reel, infuse it with life and the spirit of something beyond. His last allbum You've Never Seen Everything suffered, in my opinion, from being a little over burdened in its production. Life Short, Call Now is not sparse making good use of brass and strings but it allows Cockburn to do what he does best, giving room for the depth of his lyrics to breathe around the bounce of his fluid jazz influenced playing.

Of course after the mystical landscape, horizons and skies of the seventies Cockburn started to look at what lived in the shadow of the mountains in the eighties. From the Creation Dream of God he turned to the Destruction Nightmares of Humans.

On Life’s Short, Call Now both these themes live, side by side. When it comes to human nightmares Cockburn has looked down the barrel of American guns for decades and a war in Iraq was hardly likely to go without comment.

His work has been informed by many fact finding missions to Central America, Mozambique and Nepal among other places. So, his recent trip was to Baghdad and so George Dubya is asked to stop “projecting his shit at the world” in Tell The Universe. This Is Baghdad that follows is one of those descriptive pieces of place and event that only Cockburn can pull off with such detail and feeling. I was thinking a little bit more of this skill as I tried in vain to capture in detail the impoverishment of townships.

Throughout these songs of political warfare, economic injustice and materialist obsession, there are echoes of transcendence and the questions are always addressed to the soul. Love and mystery bring light through the cracks and the hopefulness of a different world tomorrow keeps the guitar dancing and the poetry full of mysterious something-other. The last words on the album in the song To Fit In My Heart  are a case in point, “Spacetime strings bend/World without end/God’s too big to fit in a book/Nothing’s too big to fit in my heart.”

Or on the slow burn blues of Mystery he is seeing snow lying on the junkyard lit by moonlight to point to something beyond our world and deep inside his soul. He is arguing with the cynic who tells him there is no mystery that it is overflows his cup.

It is close to how I feel as I spend my evenings gazing at the wonder of the Creation Dream of The Lions Head and pondering the Destruction Nightmare of Humans on the streets of townships where people are dying of HIV/AIDS, oppressed beneath the injustice of my wealth and living in hardboard and cardboard.

I’m deep in the mixed themes of Cockburn and wishing he was here to make my confused cocktail of emotions rhyme. And as if on queue the song Mystery concludes, “So all you stumblers who believe love rules/Believe love rules/Believe love rules/Come all you stumblers who believe love rules/Stand up and let it shine/Stand up and let it shine.”


Blood Of Christ

Let me to dangle myself over the firey pit of heresy… many will not be surprised! I am disillusioned by our evangelical theology of salvation! Actually I am disillusioned that our great theology of salvation that is so poorly worked out in our lives, Church and society. Indeed I believe that the problem has been that we have focused too much on the theology rather than its implications.

Let me untangle my disappointment with salvation; or our outworking of it. I read the biography of a musician a while back; a rock star who is now a Christian. The outworking of his salvation in Christ left me feeling a little short changed. It didn’t seem a robust enough transformation. 

He did have an awareness of the emptiness of his fame and fortune and his need for Jesus and the salvation Christ came to bring. He prayed the prayer and turned his life around, leaving the music scene to become a pastor. It held his life together, gave him a new sense of morality and led him towards Bible Study, prayer and witnessing to his friends. It was in so many ways the salvation that I found as a teenager and that so many experienced but it left me feeling disappointed. 

There was nothing in his biography about the challenges Jesus would throw at an American living through war and globalisation and consumerism and an encroaching environmental apocalypse. He admitted that he never wrote political songs or songs of social concern or cultural critique but even if they are not issues to write songs about surely they are crisis that our faith should be engaging with. As Shadia Qubti said at Catalyst Live 2016, “Politics is part of our identity so surely God has something to say about it.”

Salvation seems to have become a liturgical procedure and a nice clean life. The Old Testament theologian Walter Brueggeman has said that “The gospel is thus a truth widely held, but a truth greatly reduced. It is a truth that has been flattened, trivialized and rendered inane.” I believe he is right. Let me use an illustration of what I think I mean. 

At communion I am always pondering on the power of the blood of Christ. It seems that in this inane nice clean life the wine of communion is merely used to wipe our faces. It is a cleansing but quite a superficial cleansing like a wipe by a diluted substance. 

The same with the Church. It is like a nice gloss top coat of paint. Look at us, we are good. And we try to do the same to our society. Less smoking and swearing and drinking and society will be more Christian. It is all a watery soul wipe.


Don’t give me an analgesic soul wipe

Or a sanctimonious side swipe

But a sacramental hit when I’m just ripe

Burst the bubble of the fallen me

Not a dull dumbed down drab drone

Or a monotonous mumble and mad moan

But the glorious song that I’m not alone

Love to fire what we all could be.


Don’t give me easy empty cheap cliches

Or weightless words to get blown away

But some substance of soul to fight the decay

Poetic imagination that redeems

Not a rut that we cut way back when

Not the hurt of history again and again

But a done deal hope that grace can send

Seeing visions and dreaming dreams.


Oh this can be useless hobby

And I can be a sad time waster

Or take up my cross and follow

As a radical audacious dreamer.


When I am in the communion zone, seeking the transforming power of the bread and the wine I often pray to be marinated by the intoxicating, dangerous sin killing power of Christ’s body and blood. 

And for society I pray that it drips then soaks and seeps through the pavement cracks and the grouting in the walls to reinvigorate, redeem and renew our society and culture. 


We’ve got to pour out the cup

Permit the precious drops to drip

Taste the grace full bodied fortitude

With every extravagant sip

We’ve got to pour out the cup

Let the potent mixture steep

The selfish stains of soily souls

And let the wild abandon of love seep

We’ve got to pour out the cup

Let the fresh flow fluid flood

Through the tar of every street

Transfuse the city with holy blood

We’ve got to pour out the cup

Be transformed by intoxication

Let it marinate the market place

To redeem the incarcerated heart of the nation.


Christ did not live and die and be resurrected to just fix our petty habits. He came to utterly turn around and make upside down and transform our entire world. As the world heads in a direction guided by a deeply rooted fall, salvation is about a repentant revolution that will see God’s kingdom come and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Soul wipe Christianity is cosmetic and can ignore the multilayered salvation that Jesus was really about.

Salvation is not a soul wipe, not a surface clean. It is multilayered… impacting deep within our culture. We need to go to be salt and light… As David Gray puts it we need to make the truth sting. 


“Into lies, ruin disease

Into wounds like these

Let the truth sting.”