I’ve been reading and listening around issues of why it’s hard to be a man these days. Because the pressure is on, as I wrote about in my book Rough Diamonds. Most of the men I now connect with are not struggling so much with being a tough guy as I worked with (or arrested) in the Police – but rather they’re struggling as they try to be a ‘nice bloke‘. That sounds okay, but it’s not the authentic masculinity Jesus modelled and its pursuit can lead to the creation of passive aggressive, approval seeking, manipulative wimps. This leads to frustration, giving to get, fixing rather than listening, avoiding conflict, constantly seeking approval and hiding mistakes. The ‘nicest bloke you’d ever meet’ can also be dishonest, secretive, controlling, passive-aggressive, isolated, and addictive. I’m convinced that trying to be a Christian nice bloke can compound and collude with this rather than help it. As a man who’s moved from tough guy to recovering nice bloke I want to meet up with other men more, as both scripture and psychology affirm this […]

The Shepherds Were The First Church

In the time of the Roman empire, whenever a VIP family had a baby, they didn’t have Facebook but to get the word out but they’d send out a herald. The emperor would send out heralds to let all the other VIPs know, announcing the ‘good news’ of the birth. If this was a first son, even better because the family name would continue! “A child is born!”  So when we read the God sends a herald angel, to say ‘Hark! Good News!’  Notice – who does God send heaven’s heralds to? LUKE 2: 8There were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, […]

Ivy Corporate Mission Partners Annual Meeting

The major missions partners we support as Ivy were able to report briefly on their current position. Ngage – challenges; a small charity doing big stuff. Getting funding is tough. Everyone going for the same pot. Exciting? Still looking at youth work Hub in Burnage. Also possibility of Free School. Development fund application successful! Roc; Highlights – the Fuse; has grown their faith. 2000 visitors from all round the country. Today in holiday club a child wrote ‘This is the best day of my life,’ Football coach said ‘this has been the best week I ever did.’ Challenge? Bid to deliver restorative justice for MCR Also – family mentoring Need more staff, bigger infrastructure. Besom; David King – Christians being released into social action. Meeting needs to matched help. Building relationships with the people we help too. All kinds of people get prayed for, someone recently said ‘THANKYOU nobody ever prayed for me before.’ David is now holding the baton for someone else to pick up the Baton on this. Dignity. An amazing year – a big movement of 3600 […]

Church We Can All Do

I follow Rachel Held Evan’s blog and I’m grateful for her pointing to this church in New York (a city I’m so excited to be visiting at the end of the year with Zoe). [vimeo 42866194 w=500 h=281] What a great idea – Dinner Church! Who do you think they got that from? I can see this working brilliantly here in Manchester. Sounds, looks and tastes a lot like how church started, and grew – and maybe it holds a big key to how we can once again build movements that don’t depend on ‘Who’s your Pastor?’, but rather ‘How’s your Pasta?’ More about St Lydia’s here. 

Ems Hancock at @myivychurch Esther 1 A Culture Of Honour.

There is a way to talk to and be with people that honours people or dishonours them. Ems has a daughter called Esther and she was born ‘for such a time as this.’ It’s a very biblical thing to exercise a culture of honour. Around 470BC the Jews were taken into exile and now they were under the power of Xerxes who ruled 120 provinces from India to Ethiopia. For 6 months he threw a party to display his wealth and power. It was very ostentatious (think footballers mansion). The royal wine flowed freely and he got ‘very very drunk’ – after a 7 day binge he called his wife in to show her off She refused and he got very insulted. So did all the men. Let’s get a new queen! That’s how Esther got a crown later Xerxes was a man without honour Rich, yes – but… Insecure Drunkard Big ego Communicates through eunuchs Not a job you’d want He’s surrounding himself with men less manly to make himself bigger. The queen was from a royal line in […]