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UPS AND DOWNS, HIGHS AND LOWS (Views from the Abbey 21)

Archibald Orr Ewing (1857-1930) was born into a wealthy family in Scotland. A successful businessman, he was deeply influenced for Christ both through the D L Moody mission to Glasgow in 1882, and by attending the Keswick Convention in 1885. As a result he devoted himself to missionary service and served with the China Inland […]

DO YOU WANT TO GET WELL? (Views from the Abbey 20)

Anthony de Mello (1931-1987) was an Indian Jesuit priest, psychotherapist, and spiritual writer. His classic book is Awareness, specifically about spiritual awareness. He was also known for his story telling. For example, ‘A businessman goes into a bar, sits down and sees this fellow with a banana in his ear! A banana in his ear, […]

WHOLENESS (Views from the Abbey 19)

Is there anything more frustrating in life than discovering something is missing? You spend hours doing a jigsaw puzzle (that was a bargain from the charity shop) only to find at the end that a piece is missing. The endless hours of pleasure doing it, spoiled in a moment! You carefully put together the unit […]

ORDINARY PEOPLE, EXTRAORDINARY GOD (Views from the Abbey 18)

It may come as a surprise to many of us, but ‘God’s ways are not our ways nor are God’s thoughts our thoughts,’ so the Prophet Isaiah tells us (Isaiah 55:8). God doesn’t think the way we think or work the way we work. The positive spin on this for us is that it means […]

WATER INTO WINE (Views from the Abbey 17)

This Tuesday (2 February) Julia and I will be celebrating our 30th Wedding Anniversary. The traditional gift for 30 years of marriage is pearl, indicative of something extra special that takes time to grow – a pearl of great price that is worth sacrificing everything else in order to gain (Matthew 13:45,46). Of course, Jesus […]

THE POWER OF LOVE (Views from the Abbey 16)

An eight-year old boy had a younger sister who was dying of leukaemia. His parents explained that if his sister didn’t have a blood transfusion she would die, and asked her brother whether he would be willing to be tested to see whether his blood was compatible with hers. He said that was OK, and […]

WHERE NEXT? (New Year 2021)

Julia and I are fortunate to live just across the road from the extensive grounds of the University of Reading (which is open to the public) with its wonderful lake, amazing trees, the Harris Gardens, the university library, bars, and eateries (which as students at the University of Winchester, we can also use), and even […]

PUTTING ON YOUR JANUS FACE (Between Christmas and New Year, 2020)

To be Janus-faced means possessing two different natures or characters. Often associated with being deceitful, two-faced, or insincere, it is important to note that the first definition of the term simply implies two characters which is not a negative attribute but simply a dichotomy – the ability to look in two directions at one and […]

THE UNTAKEN GIFT (Boxing Day 2020)

Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day and is celebrated as part of the Christmas holidays. There are many reasons suggested as to why it was given its name. Here in the UK it was a custom for tradesmen to collect ‘Christmas boxes’ of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks […]

THE WORLD NEEDS A STABLE INFLUENCE (Christmas Day 2020)

Very early one Christmas morning a small boy tiptoed downstairs. All night he had been dreaming of the gorgeously decorated Christmas tree groaning under the weight of presents. Imagine his shocked amazement at seeing none these things – just the same old furniture arranged in the same drab way. Yet there was a difference, an […]