The subtleties we lose when we communicate electronically have to do with expression, with touch, with the face-to-face aspect of relationship. Social media does not show tears in the eye, a hand on the arm when saying something painful, body language that speaks of inner turmoil, deep distress - even gentle respect. It is simply there - usually forever.
Terrorists carry out their heinous acts to gain publicity for their cause but what is far more sinister is their motive to create division and conflict in the country and it is this that we need to be aware of and not let them succeed...
Every person's life has an intrinsic value regardless of circumstance. Whatever they themselves or other people may think of their 'value' to society, and despite any apparent lack of productivity or usefulness, nothing can alter their essential significance as human beings. To agree that some of us are more valuable than others when it comes to being alive would be to cross an ethical Rubicon.
The statistical reality is that Britain remains one of the least antisemitic countries in the world... Indeed, Jewish life in Britain is thriving. British Jews have benefited enormously from multiculturalism, and compared to a generation ago, Britain has become a fabulous place to live a meaningful Jewish life. But perhaps that is what helps to fuel the anxiety.
It began with a BBC Panorama programme in early 2014. It has ended with an All Party Parliamentary report just before Christmas. From start to finish, 2014 became the year in which it has become clear that food banks are far more than a response to a crisis occasioned by the recent recession. Even as the economy grows and employment with it, the number of those presenting with genuine food poverty in Britain continues itself to grow, and rapidly. What's going on?
Forgiving may seem marginal to the seasonal celebrations but if it isn't done then any Christmas spirit is going to be contaminated and you may find that (pun intended) your past poisons your present.
While civilised people everywhere hold up their hands in horror at the massacre of children in Peshawar, Pakistan, we would do well to remember that it is human, not Biblical values, that stand firm against such evil.
What is the relationship between the teachings of a religion and the actions of its followers? What is the relationship between the text and the act? When, if ever, a religion, in this case Islam, can be credited with the acts, good or bad, of its followers?
I've just had my first Zen moment in Japan. For a while now, I've been wrestling with what to do next with my life. Something we all face up to at some stage.
I wanted to do a religious game that showed religion in itself could be benevolent, it's just the application and interpretation that's problematic. Yet this gets stale quickly. The usual dividing lines in this argument run similar to those of gun control in the US: "Guns don't kill people, people kill people". Therefore, religion doesn't kill people, people with religion kill people. Drunk drivers don't kill people, drunk drivers who hit people and kill people, kill people... It's a facile argument that gets meaningless very quickly. The thing is, if religion really is so intoxicatingly corruptible, then it doesn't matter how great it is on paper, it's never going to have a happy ending.
The event at the Hydro confirmed that the SNP now 'functions religiously' for many of its members. It has ceased being a limited, political organisation and is now an all-encompassing 'movement' with faith at its core.
It's not the Muslim Hajj, or the Hindu Kumbh Mela.. Known as Arbaeen, it is the world's most populous gathering and you've probably never heard of it!
Israelis need to confront a truth that too often is ignored: they too have their zealots, and their murderers. They too have spokesmen who glorify mass murder. When they recoil in horror from the triumphalism of some Palestinian groups, they need to remember - just occasionally - to look in the mirror... the sad truth is that Israelis have grown far too confident that their overwhelming firepower - and the continued support of the US Congress - makes them invincible. It does not.
Precisely because it is such a frequently used criticism of religious faith, the argument that war is a product of religion is worth considering. After all, we have recently had some horrific imagery from the Middle East that seems to suggest that religion is a bad thing. Nevertheless a number of points strike me.
As a church we can't teach how bad sin is, to love your neighbour as yourself, to live in Jesus' example; then attach 10 asterisks at the bottom of the page with our 'terms and conditions'. I'm sick of feeling part of a faith that, in part, will charitably give with one hand and damage with the other. Its literal hypocrisy, and its nothing like the religion that I believe in...
We live in a contingent world and do not have the luxury of choosing our friends; we share a seat with anyone who offers. And we must never lose our focus on the individual amid the complexity of the global.