What’s New?

A Trinitarian Yardstick for the General Election

Added Friday 12th May 2017

Vote for those who, no matter how imperfectly: nurture God's creation; prosecute Christ's social justice; live in the love and Grace of the Spirit; and who favour the communal life of the Trinity to the competitive life of the idolater.

Meditations for Advent

Added Monday 28th November 2016

Light a fire, pull up a comfortable chair, and let Kevin Carey's Advent Firesiders gently provoke your comfortable Christmas contemplation.

This year's reflections include:

  1. Trump-it Blues
  2. What Are We Going To Do about Christmas?
  3. Talking Turkey
  4. What The Dickens?
  5. Shepherds
  6. Favourite Things.

The Role of the Christian Librarian in a Theologically Turbulent Age

Added Wednesday 4th November 2015

In the Annual Public Lecture of Christians in Library and Information Services, Kevin Carey argues that the 20th Century was the most theologically fruitful since the 16th, seeking to address a wide range of issues, both systematic and ethical, and that such diversity of approach and topic presents the librarian with a peculiar set of challenges whose resolution is vital to the non-academician seeking to broaden and deepen their Christian faith.

You can read the full lecture, which was given by Kevin Carey, Chair RNIB, on Saturday 17th October 2015 at Salisbury Library.

Refugees

Added Friday 2nd October 2015

It is right and proper that we should contribute to the temporary expedient of caring for refugees in their camps but that is only a starting point. Politicians have believed for some years now that we are a mean spirited people who want to keep foreigners out, no matter what their reason for wishing to be among us. Before Aylan Kurdi's corpse went global, they believed that the way to stay popular was to stay immoral, to pander to our worst xenophobia, to deliberately conflate the issues of Eastern European workers, West African paupers, Eritrean victims of torture and Syrian refugees. Well, they have been found out but, in a sad way, so have we. And it is time to make amends by publicly stating that we are prepared to accept and finance the residence here of hundreds of thousands of refugees if that is how many want to come here. Grudgingly talking about fair shares is an inadequate response.

The question being asked of us is not being asked by the refugees, it is being asked by Jesus. It is time to respond by opening our arms in welcome.

Read all of Kevin Carey's sermon on the refugee crisis

Emmaus

Added Saturday 4th April 2015

1. Trudge down the windy road,
A house without a light,
The chill of empty fires
And soon the lonely night:
A triumph for a day,
The panic of the tomb;
Enigmas cloud the brain,
Sprung from the Upper Room.

2. Our heavy hearts pick up
A traveller's quickened pace
Who walks a step behind
Hiding his eyes and face:
His words burn deep as fire
Where coldness lay before;
A pattern to explain
A message to restore.

3. Though we were still downcast
His gentleness was such
We asked him to come in:
We could not offer much
Late on a Sunday night,
Having been so long away;
But he would ease our grief
If he agreed to stay.

4. He acted like our host,
Giving the wine and bread
And then we understood
The things that He had said:
First in the Upper Room,
Next in the empty tomb,
Then on the open road,
Now in our humble home.

5. Lord, now that You have gone
Back to Your Father's care,
May we be comforted
As if You were still here:
The light within our home,
Our brother in distress,
Our daily sustenance,
Our guide to happiness.

Taken from Hymns for Ash Wednesday to Pentecost.

The Cruel Implements

Added Tuesday 31st March 2015

1. The first lash was an accident
Inside a mine of gold;
Thirteen for muck, thirteen for luck,
Thirteen were bought and sold:
But the walls were high and the walls were thick,
So nobody was told.

2. The first thorn from a President
In a palace full of rings
Joined thorns of stone and human bone
From emperors and kings:
But the crowning went unwitnessed
As they hated suffering.

3. The first nail was a precedent
Set down in a decree;
One for the great, one for estate,
A last for property:
But as long as there is argument
We still have liberty.

4. The scimitar's hilt was an ornament
To artifice and grief
With filigree veins and bloody stains
In clots of bas relief:
But its blade was the final reckoning
For the soul of a dying thief.

5. The Holy Cross was a testament
Barbaric, cruel and raw
Yet its wood was sold and dipped in gold
To edify the poor:
But would Jesus fare much better
If he came to earth once more?

Taken from Hymns for Ash Wednesday to Pentecost.

Palm Ash and Oil

Added Thursday 5th February 2015

The ash upon my brow
Has made its heavy way
From those who shouted "King"
To those who would not say:
A warning of the slope
Which leads us to betray;
No need to do the deed,
Stay quiet, walk away.

The palm Cross by my bed
Rustles a jarring note
Of people steering clear
Of things they should promote,
Promiscuously bland
In promising their vote,
No gap between the hat
And the collar of the coat.

The oil that welds the ash
Reminds me of a king
Who, tortured and betrayed,
Accepted suffering,
Whose silence was as sharp
As crystal shattering,
Whose word is always true
As an infant's lettering.

The Cross upon my brow
Says that I must not wait
To turn against my ease,
Confronting what I hate;
It says my sins, though small,
Add up to something great,
That I so often fall
Because I hesitate.

Candlemas

Added Friday 23rd January 2015

A Stranger in Bethlehem (book cover)1. Twixt crib and cross
Twixt straw and bark
Twixt holly and thorn
Twixt light and dark:
A candle for a maid
Twixt happy and sad.

2. Bound gloom and gold
Bound Smoke and blood,
Bound myrrh and tomb,
Bound star and cloud:
A candle for a maid
Bound Swaddle and shroud.

3. Raised love from hate
Raised plough from sword
Raised life from death
Raised flesh from Word:
A candle for a maid
Who bore Our Lord.

Candle for a Maid, from Volume I of Kevin Carey's gorgeously-illustrated poetry for Advent to Candlemas, A Stranger in Bethlehem, available from Sacristy Press for £5.99, or as an e-book.

Advent Firesiders 2014

Added Tuesday 25th November 2014

What do you do on New Year's Eve when you know that the next year is going to be worse than the one that's just ending? Stay home, promise solidarity, or just go on drinking?

Light a fire, pull up a comfortable chair, and let Kevin Carey's Advent Firesiders gently provoke your comfortable Christmas contemplation.

Are priests a “failed tradition”?

Added Monday 17th March 2014

Ever since I began to study the Bible seriously I have never been able to come to grips with Saint Paul's Letter to the Hebrews: neither from Saint Paul, nor a letter, nor to Hebrews whoever they might be in the 80's CE, probably in Rome. I thought it was me; but one of the many wonderful things which Gary Wills demonstrates in this fascinating book is that this doctrinally anomalous document is frequently illogical and, in three critical places at least, plain daft.

Put simply, The Church and not the consecrated Eucharistic elements, is the body of Christ, a doctrine from which Saint Paul never deviated and from which the Church would not have deviated were it not for Hebrews. This document, apparently written to reassure Jewish converts to Christianity who hankered after the good old days of animal sacrifice, was somehow used as a pretext, in spite of its claim that the sacrifice of Jesus was unique, to establish an imperial priesthood based on its sole, miraculous power to change bread and wine into the very body and blood of Jesus.

Read Kevin Carey's full review of Why Priests? A Failed Tradition by Gary Wills.