Posture politics

AN NFL American football game at Wembley is always a big occasion. But the season’s opener at the end of September grabbed the headlines even before kick-off. For the playing of the pre-game American national anthem, a number of players and staff dropped to one knee. They were not alone. In the States, other players did the same. Last Sunday, the play was repeated.

We are well used to rolling up our sleeves to accommodate homeless people like Andrew

Some years afterwards Andrew lost family members in an accident and became very depressed and started to miss work. One day he found himself standing by a railway bridge contemplating jumping over.

A friend who worked in the medical profession helped him recover from his depression.  Andrew started to see a therapist regularly and things were looking up for him. He returned to work and was fine for a couple of years. But then his depression returned and, again, he became unemployed.

We help former prisoners stand on their own two feet

LIFE completely changed for Simon Edwards on the night in September 2009 when he became a Christian in his prison cell. Up until then, he had been in and out of prison, caught up in burglary, drug dealing and violence. He had received threats to his life from drug gangs. His crimes culminated in a life sentence, with a minimum of six years, for armed robbery. At his lowest point he attempted suicide, but then found himself locked up with a Christian cellmate, whose influence led Simon
to faith.

No one’s unimpeachable

I ONCE lived next door to some neighbours who had a peach tree in their garden. It produced the most delicious and juiciest peaches I have ever tasted. Sadly, our neighbours weren’t the sharing kind, so I had to depend on windfalls landing in our garden. The branches hung tantalisingly near our fence, but – disappointingly for my children – not quite near enough to reach.

I don’t like myself very much – but I’m trying hard to learn to

LIFE hasn’t turned out as Katharine Welby-Roberts hoped. In her book, I Thought There Would Be Cake, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s daughter explains that when she was a child, she longed to be a grown-up. As far as she could tell, grown-ups had their own money, could stay up late and watch as much TV as they liked. But then she grew up. And she was, she writes, ‘very disappointed’. Life wasn’t perfect – far from it. Katharine, who had always had low self-esteem, developed depression and anxiety and suffered with chronic fatigue syndrome.

RE thinking

HANDS up all those who found RE boring at school. Hands up those who enjoyed it. Hands up those who were hardly taught it at all. The National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) says that 26 per cent of secondary schools report giving zero hours of RE to pupils. A school without RE may sound heavenly to some. The content and compulsory presence of RE on curriculums is a subject for discussion around the UK.

Life was agony

I WAS detained in an immigration removal centre for five months. With no idea of when I would be allowed to leave, my physical and mental health deteriorated. It was agony. I became so depressed that I felt like killing myself. I was detained without a trial, yet I am not a criminal. I came to the UK eight years ago to seek refuge. In my country, I was tortured because some government officials did not want me to expose their corruption. I spoke out agaisnt the evil things that they were doing in the community, but they persecuted me as a result.

Value judgment

‘MONEY, money, money … It’s a rich man’s world,’ sang Abba way back in the 1970s. Not much change there, then! Money still talks. Money still makes the world go round. Money still divides the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ – and that gap is getting wider. Those who have money seem to get richer by the day, while those surviving on

nothing or very little are desperately trying to get by as best they can.