Who are the real heroes?

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A black sportsman made an advert with Nike and some white people are pissed. So pissed they’re burning their shoes. Some even while wearing them. They’re so mad there is no time to waste removing their shoes first.

They’re being applauded but of course, protest is only good when you agree with the method of protesting. Quietly taking a knee is deeply offensive but burning something that could easily be donated to a homeless person or a charity working with veterans is entirely appropriate it seems.

We are deeply divided.

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The Joy of faithfully being pissed off.

Being raised in church in Northern Ireland is a fairly unique experience that sometimes feels like a million miles away from the ideas around faith that I hold now.
 
The Bible belt of the UK, Northern Ireland has always had religion running through public life. I once heard a statistic that sounds just likely enough to be true, that it’s believable  but still insane enough to still be dubious about. That there are more Christians in a 50 miles radius from Belfast per capita than anywhere in the world.
 
How true this is I’m not entirely sure but it’s believable enough that I couldn’t say it was ridiculous altogether.
 
Either way, religion permeates everything. Politics, schooling, laws. You name it, religion probably has a part to play.
 
There does however seem to be a shift occurring in the public life in Northern Ireland where religion is concerned.

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To Unfollow or Not To Unfollow. Why it’s Sometimes Good to Just Click Unfollow.

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In the last few weeks, I went through a mini cull on Twitter, choosing to unfollow several people for various reasons. Before I unfollowed them I tried to think about why I wanted to unfollow these people. There are I believe very good reasons to unfollow or not to unfollow people or accounts that you don’t agree with or who are trolling or generally creating a negative attitude in your Twitter feed.

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Why Chris Rock is right about not going to church.

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According to Chris Rock, it requires much more faith to not go to church than it does to go. We believe that God needs our help. That’s sacrilegious according to Chris. That’s not faith.

You go to Church because you don’t trust God, he says.

Could he be right? That the reason most of us attend Church is because we don’t really trust God. That we need to show Him that we’re serious about all this stuff? Continue reading

Why Your New Years Resolution Are Going To Fail. (Oh, and Happy New Year)

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Look I am as sick of writing New Years’ Resolution posts as you are of reading them. This is the time of the year when we bloggers can’t think of anything else to write so decide to get high and mighty and tell you why you suck.

But let’s be honest, we never learn. Every year we come back to the same guilt and shame and announce to the world via Twitter that this is the year that we lose weight or take up running or whatever. Continue reading

Brad Pitt, Where Ideas Come From and Why Everything Should Be Sacred To The Writer.

I am not in control.

You are not in control.

This may be the most important thing I’ve learned as a writer. It’s what I would tell anyone who creates anything. Whether you’re writing a blog post, preparing a sermon or painting. It doesn’t matter if you’re a kid who is making masterpieces out of stuff that’s lying around or whether you’re a  seasoned novelist who has written 20 New York Times’ Bestsellers.

You aren’t in control. And as soon as you realize that, the sooner you can start making some really great stuff.

Even when you come up with an idea. It’s not really your idea. Yeah, you were maybe the one who one who write it down or had an inkling to suggest something, but honestly that doesn’t mean it’s yours. Where did it come from? That’s what I like to call an elusive question. One that the more we attempt to answer, often the further we are from finding an answer.

Consider this in some ways, an elusive blog post.

When I write I often try and have some ideas or seeds ready to go. So if I’m out and about and I notice something or hear something or wonder something, I will jot it down. It doesn’t matter what it is or whether it fits into something that I’m already working on or whether it’s interesting to anyone else. If it hits something in me, I’ll make some sort of record of it. Maybe I’ll take a picture and make a note and reference it in Evernote.

I’ll usually give it a tag of some sort e.g. Elaine’s Freakout or Franco, General Hospital or Numb Slog.

Descriptions and tags that right now mean nothing, but someday may just be the missing piece of the jigsaw that I’ve been looking for.

Remember to make a note about whatever this thought that comes to mind is, even if it’s 3:25 in the morning. This is so important!! I’ve had ideas that I’ve thought were genius and I wouldn’t need to write down, disappear like a dream. There are foggy memories of having a great idea that become faint mirages. Something but now nothing.

I’ve thought of jokes in my sleep that I literally remember thinking I can’t wait to tell Britty this joke when I wake up and realizing the joke is terrible. Remind me to tell you my Brad Pitt joke next time I see you. brad-pitt-young

But it doesn’t matter. I wrote it down. It may come in handy someday, even if just to use in a blog post about how crap an idea it was.

Nothing is wasted. Everything is sacred to the writer.

Then maybe later I’ll be writing a blog post about a particular topic and I’ll review my tags and I’ll see if there are any interesting connections. Connections that if I was trying to intentionally arrive at, would never stick. But when my stance in the world is to be alert to what’s going on around me, you’d be surprised at the things that fit together eventually.

Also, it doesn’t have to be good. In fact, it should probably be really shit. That’s where the good stuff tends to come from. Another in fact; usually the things that you think are really great and are going to go viral, don’t get much response and the things you’re so embarrassed about sharing, resonate on some weird level with people.

The best ideas too, come from the least expected places. Often I do my best writing in the shower or sitting on the toilet. They common factor here is not some weird fascination I have with my bathroom but that it’s here that I’m often disconnected from my phone or my computer. Those things become a distraction where Twitter stops me from pondering and being in awe and just being silent.

The silence is where the best noise comes from.

I don’t understand it either.

Again, we’re not in control.

And that’s it really. Sure we need to actually sit down every single day and do the work. And sure, we need to edit it and maybe we can to learn to find our voice by taking a course. But the ideas, rarely come from simply trying harder.

And the more you do this, whether you’re any good at it or not, the more you’ll want to let go. The more value you’ll see in those frustrating days when everything you write is just BLeurgrhhgreathhgghhghsdgjh!!!!! It’s not a waste of time, it’s necessary. Like a good sculptor, our job is simply to chisel away until we find something that has been there all along.

We’re not creating it so much as we are discovering it and giving voice to it.

That’s the important work.

Because in there, when you least expect it, is where you find the great.