“The slap”

I stopped by the Tesco in Osterley last night to pick up a few groceries.  As I walked in the car park, I remembered (as I always do when walking in the Osterley Tesco car park) “the slap” from a few years back.

Sitting in our car reading while Jos picked up a few things, the yelling caught my attention first.  A young couple about 50 yards directly in front of me were having an argument.  The words were not clear but the body language was.  There was tension.  And then it happened.

   The guy slapped her!

Quickly with force.   Then quickly jogged away.   I ran over to check on her.  She was in weeping and in a state of shock.  “He’s never done that before”, she said.  “No, don’t call the police.  I’m alright.”

We talked for a bit and I encouraged her to leave him.  Giving her my card, I asked her to call if she ever needed help.

No man has the right to physically attack his wife or girlfriend.  And yet this slap was just a little opening into the lives of millions of women who live in fear from their partners.  The curtains were pulled back just a little for me that day.

I have become more and more convinced that justice involves the protection of women from abusive men.  That afternoon was a wake-up call for me which still burns in my mind.

May we work for the day when men love their wives tenderly in the way Peter commands  in 1 Peter 3:7:

“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel”

Women are the “weaker vessel” in the same way that a beautiful goblet is weaker than the travel mug for my coffee.  Of course, I treat the goblet with care.

Let us pray and work for the day when all men would treat the women in the lives the same way.

Suffering is THIS Not That

I heard a good quote today from my friend and boss, Bob Heppe:

“Suffering is for propagation not propitiation.”

Suffering is for
prop·a·ga·tion [prä-pə-ˈgā-shən]
1. Multiplication or increase, as by natural reproduction.
2. The process of spreading to a larger area or greater number; dissemination.

pro·pi·ti·a·tion [pruh-pish-ee-ey-shuhn]
1. the act of propitiating;  conciliation: the propitiation of the wrathful gods.
2. to gain or regain the favor or goodwill of : appease


2 Corinthians 1: 5-6 puts it this way:

For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 

If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.  (ESV)

Turning is easy?

Which is easier to turn – a row boat?

Or an ocean liner?

Years ago, I heard a staff worker of a large suburban church with several thousand members mention that the leadership had decided they needed to start working with the poor. Really?  After 30 years of not engaging with the poor, it might be possible but it’s not going to be easy.

I’ve been thinking about the core values of our new church plant in west London.  Who knows if we’ll ever be an ocean liner, but it’s a whole lot easier to set the direction now when we’re just a little row boat. (Actually, I’m still dreaming of a row boat)

In whatever you are starting, take the time to think through your direction now.

Turning a row boat is easy.  Turning an ocean liner? Not quite.

Police escorts – now and then

Heard it first on the radio and then saw the headlines online:

“Ferdinand to get police escort” – Daily Mail “Anton’s Cop Escorts” – The Sun


and even this one:

“Police investigate death threat against Anton Ferdinand” – The Guardian

I immediately thought of this photo from Norman Rockwell depicting a little girl being escorted into  a New Orleans school in the 1960’s:

No matter what your thoughts are on John Terry, racism is still alive around our world.




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