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Hard Talk

Hard Talk

Suffering God

Matthew Shardlake had seen it all – burnings, hangings, beheadings and torture – all in the name of religion. He had witnessed these gruesome, hellish, barbaric acts committed by Protestant on Catholic, Catholic on Protestant – and even Protestant against those of their own brand who disagreed with the ruling elite on matters of conscience.

Matthew had started out as a young man with a strong faith – but now, much older and wiser, that was all but dead. Continue Reading

Hard Talk History

Closed Universe – Part 1

This post and those that follow in this short series are of necessity longer than normal. So I will gave a spoiler alert at the beginning. If any of the following applies to you then you need not read these posts any further.

  • You are happy to live inside your closed universe.
  • You have no interest in any spiritual aspect of life outside your universe.
  • If you are religious and you believe your church, denomination, tradition or group is the only true one.
  • You do not have any nagging questions about your belief system.
  • You are happy to be told what to think.

On the other hand if you have questions about any of the above – perhaps this post will be worth reading. Continue Reading

Hard Talk

The Stick

Guido Brunetti, Commissario of Police in Venice, Italy, does not believe in God and has a very low opinion of all religion. However, one evening, in pursuit of a case, he found himself in a small house church in Venice listening to Brother Leonardo. The record of Leonardo’s talk to the group, in Donna Leon’s fictional account, is fairly extensive. Continue Reading

Hard Talk

The Descent

The picture of Christ visiting hell sits very uncomfortable with many in my religious tradition. Although the early creeds of the church taught that he – ‘was crucified, died and was buried’ and ‘descended in to hell’ before rising on the third day – some will not repeat or sing this line of the creed even if their chosen brand of church uses it. Other churches have deleted this statement from the creed altogether. Interestingly, in all my years of attending church, I have never heard this topic addressed.

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Hard Talk


This morning I passed one of our neighbours working on his house. We chatted for a while and he told me that he was fixing a small misalignment on a window that had been bothering him for some time – and he could not get on with anything else till it was sorted. No one else would have noticed – but for him it had become an issue. Continue Reading