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The Stand

‘The Stand’ is a spoken word piece written for the Iron Men 2014 conference at NCLC. The theme of the conference was ‘Stand’ and I wanted to use this piece to explore the ways that we interpret a stand. It’s often considered that a stand is a symbol of independence but a child initially stands not to be independent from their parents but in imitation of them. This should be paralleled by our journey in the faith as we learn to stand in imitation of Christ, and in the security of what He has done. Cinematography by Mark Harle, 2014. There was a process then, and...
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Thanksgiving

Can I let you in to a secret? As a Brit, I’ve often been a little bit cynical about thanksgiving. Not about the concept of saying thank you, but about the American holiday. For years I tended to adopt a particular air of indifference when it was mentioned and make an abundance of very dry, very sarcastic, comments. I’m all for gratitude where it’s due but dedicating a whole night to it? It’s just didn’t seem British. It’s not that I didn’t believe in being thankful, I just tended towards the more subtle expression of thanks – it was my general belief that...
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Monuments…

Anyone who has lived in Newcastle will know the monument. In many ways it’s the epicentre of life in the city; it is the place all directions are given in relation to, it’s the place where people meet, and it’s the place where people gather. There, at the top of a 135ft column, is a statue of Earl Grey. (Yes, the chap they named the tea after.) Earl Grey was the Prime Minister who authored the great reform act and who led the government that passed the 1833 bill for the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. On Saturday afternoon,...
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The Dream of Freedom

“We are too young to realise that certain things are impossible,” said William Wilberforce, “So we will do them anyway”. There are perhaps no better words to introduce the life of a man who undertook the improbable, to achieve what seemed impossible, and lived to see his dream realised. We are too young to realise that certain things are impossible, so we will do them anyway. William Wilberforce had a dream, like so many great dreamers, of freedom. It seems that oppression, prejudice and captivity are the breeding ground of hope and dreams; what makes Wilberforce special was that he himself did not...
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That’s Not My Name

“Sticks and stones may break my bones,” goes the rhyme, “but words will never hurt me.” If only that were true. The truth is that words come loaded with power and meaning and at any stage in life name calling is a damaging thing. There is one guy who has called me some really negative things; it’s usually in moments of frustration or anger or sadness but that doesn’t make it all right. If this person was anyone else, I imagine that I’d have given in to anger and yelled at them in return, or else just frozen them out of...
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