the world inside my head...

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Christian reviews: the good, the bad and the just plain wrong…

There is an awful lot of really bad Christian writing out there. I review a fair amount of Christian ‘stuff’ (books, CDs, films… once a Christian fitness DVD) for radio and more often than not the material has me groaning in despair.

So it was refreshing to read Jonah: Poet in Extremis by Richard Littledale. Check out my review here

As I write this I’ve just received another lovely bundle of things to review on Premier Radio later this month. On the surface, this latest offering doesn’t look too bad - watch this space! 

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Spotted in a park near my work. I hope to God they do red wine, massage and an 8-week course of psychotherapy…

Spotted in a park near my work. I hope to God they do red wine, massage and an 8-week course of psychotherapy…

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I will
     learn to resist
     stop interrupting
     eat more veg
     be on time
     phone the bank
     read my Bible
     call my mother
     stop losing things
     spend time on my appearance
     take prayer seriously
     write a letter
     really listen
     clean under the settee
     switch my phone off
     get thin
     think big
     visit family
     be thankful

Probably tomorrow.
Definitely next week.

But for now I
     love my family
     answer the phone
     get up early
     make my friends laugh
     read a bedtime story
     work hard
     wonder about God
     make pizza
     hold hands
     watch movies

Though I really should
     learn to resist
     stop interrupting
     eat more veg
     be on time…


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Boobs aren’t news

I fear I may have reached the pinnacle of my career. This morning  I issued a press release with the word ‘boobs’ in the headline. That’s it. I can die a happy press officer. 

Plus, it’s for a very important cause - please lend your support to the No More Page 3 campaign here.

Because boobs aren’t news. 

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Podcast: Ebola outbreak in West Africa

I’m currently working away from home at the Methodist Conference in Birmingham. While the Church has been debating leadership, same sex marriage and statistics (all v important), the World Health Organisation has called an emergency meeting to address the Ebola virus that has been sweeping across West Africa. 

As it turns out, the Revd Musa Jambawa (the former General Secretary of the Methodist Conference of Sierra Leone) is here in Birmingham. He and partnership coordinator Olubunmi Olayisade spoke to me about how the virus is affecting the country. 

I was blown away by the story Musa has to tell - please listen and pray. 

Please note: some may find the content of this interview upsetting.

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Living in the nonsense

Today is the first anniversary of the death of my dear friend and colleague Dina.

I remember very clearly the day I heard the news of Dina’s passing. It was a Sunday, only about a month after the birth of my son. Ordinarily I would be at church, but we we due to host our NCT group reunion at lunchtime, so Jim had taken Baby T to church while I got the house ready. I’d just stepped out of the shower when I had a call from Dina’s mum - her daughter had died early that morning.

Three hours later my house was crammed full with tiny babies and their tired and joyful new parents. A very sad, wonderful, strange day.

Today I met Dina’s mum for coffee. She had been to synagogue on Saturday to spend some time remembering her daughter. The solemnity of her task was somewhat interrupted by an elderly couple celebrating their wedding anniversary. The woman of the couple was apparently dressed in the most outrageous outfit, featuring a gold lamé top, gold-trimmed boots and gold nail varnish. We laughed at how Dina would have loved that. In my head, she’s practically on the floor in fits: “God, Anna, you should have SEEN her!!”

It has been a hard year for those who love Dina, but the community they’re a part of has surrounded them with love and support. Dina’s mum is open and articulate about her pain. She knows I have a faith and asked me, “How do you make sense of it [Dina’s death]?”

My friends know me as a compulsively honest person.

"I don’t. I can’t make sense of it. It feels like nonsense to me."

"But how do you live with it?"

"I guess I try to live in the nonsense. I know God’s big enough for our grief and our questions and our anger. But I can’t make sense of it."

I am pleased I could give Dina’s mum an honest response to her question, but I am slightly ashamed by the lameness of my answer.

I believe that God is good. I want to believe that God is in control and that all of this somehow fits into a grand universal plan, that everything happens for a reason. But I am a bear of very little brain and I can’t understand how that could be. I don’t understand what possible divine reason there could be for a parent having to face the death of their child.

Part of me feels that my answer betrays the fragility and weakness of my faith. No doubt a wiser, more faithful Christian would have known what to say, what to believe.

But here I am, living in the nonsense, remembering how Dina used to laugh.