NW 200

I have just driven back from the North Coast today and everything there is very busy because of the NW 200, the annual motorcycle road race that attracts thousands of visitors.dsc_9866-th

If you don’t come from this part of the world, you may not know that Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man are the only places in the UK where motor cycle races are permitted on ordinary roads (closed to ordinary traffic, of course, while the race is going on). This weekend the NW 200 takes place around the triangle of roads linking Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine. And already the roads to the Triangle are full of motorcyclists travelling to the races. It is estimated that these road races draw more visitors to Northern Ireland than other event. Continue reading “NW 200”

Not the way it’s supposed to be

That’s the title of Cornelius Plantinga’s book of a few years ago (Eerdmans, 1995) which continues to be such an accurate commentary on our common life and our personal lives. We shouldn’t be surprised at the big news this weekend that MPs are just as greedy as the rest of us when it comes to claiming for expenses, but we need to say clearly that it’s “not the way it’s supposed to be”.

The concept of sin has slipped off our radar. In the past, people hated sin, feared it, fled from it, and grieved over it. But the shadow has dimmed. When someone says “You’ve sinned!” it is often spoken with a smile and a knowing look that signals an inside joke. Plantinga points out how that we have adjusted our language, even within the church, when it comes to sin. “Let us confess our problem with human relational adjustment dynamics, and especially our feebleness in networking” or “I’d just like to share that we need to target holiness as a growth area”. Nobody talks about sin, repents of it or confesses it openly. When it comes to sin, people mumble. And the only place where it is acknowledged openly is on the dessert menu. Pavlovas, cheesecakes and chocolate ice-cream are sinful. Telling lies and being greedy are not. As Plantinga says, “The new measure for sin is caloric.” Continue reading “Not the way it’s supposed to be”

Reading List

I had the list below passed on to me from a very well-read friend, Cliff Weatherup, who originally hails from East Antrim, but who has been exiled in England for many years now. He has an impressive track record of reading. The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 books from this list.  We are invited to tick those which we have read. Continue reading “Reading List”


If I am ever feeling a bit depressed and in need of a smile, I listen to this piece. It’s been around for a few years and it has brought smiles to many faces, I am sure. I have to say that I have never received any calls like this one, but a few would come close.

Human rights

I am finding “Justice: Rights and Wrongs” by Nicholas Wolterstorff to be a challenging but wonderfully stimulating book. As a non-philosopher, I struggle to keep up with him, but the bits I do grasp I find to be most insightful. His argument is that justice must be based on inherent rights and not just right order. And he argues that secularism fails to provide a proper grounding for human worth and dignity.

Continue reading “Human rights”