2) Dear Phillip – You may have heard the news about British school-teacher Joshua Sutcliffe (a Christian) who was recently told he would face a disciplinary hearing for ‘misgendering’ a student? The case has led to him being interviewed by Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on This Morning this week, which was a pretty ugly affair. This thoughtful letter of response to TV presenter Schofield raises some of the issues that so many found disturbing about how the interview was conducted.
6) Meet the Nativity – Glen Scrivener’s annual Christmas video is being taken to a whole new level this year: a four part professionally-directed modern retelling of the nativity with a magical twist. Here’s the teaser…
Eric Says Please in the third and final instalment in the epic ‘Eric’ trilogy, now found on Christian bookstalls across the nation, probably best aimed at 3-8 year olds. (Actually, maybe I’m wrongly assuming it’s the final instalment?! Who knows, maybe Hankey’s gonna complete the ACTS prayer mnemonic and have an Eric Says Wow! for Adoration?!)
If you’re familiar with Eric Says Sorry and Eric Says Thanks (my review of the latter is here), then you’ll know what to expect. If not, think fun, cheery, contemporary rhyming prose as we follow the escapades of little lad Eric, with Xavier Bonet providing bright, stylised illustrations. Each story doubles up as an opportunity to reflect on the nature of prayer, or more generally how we can relate to God. And whereas the first two books focus in on gratitude and forgiveness respectively, this latest book focuses on our need to depend on God.
Of course, this raises the important connection that ‘saying please’, i.e. depending upon God in prayer, is actually about us growing in humility, as we learn to see that we’re not independent. Ultimately this is not just about needing each other, but about being dependent on our Creator and Father in heaven. And indeed towards the end of the story, Eric’s Grandpa plays the wise mentor role and takes Eric to James 4:6, “Pride will always make us humble, but God gives grace to the truly humble”.
The story then finishes with Eric’s Grandpa helping him to pray a short prayer as they walk home from school (“you don’t need words that are big and smart; just be yourself and speak your heart”), in which Eric asks for God to sort out a conflict with one of his friends that has arisen during the day. In a lovely closing moment, Eric is amazed as God answers the prayer, with Eric playing his part in that answer. It’s a great example of prayer as something natural and ‘everyday’, rather than something just for church or ‘before bed’.
It’s worth noting that these books aren’t ‘intense’, and would make great presents, even if a child is not from a Christian family. They introduce Christian prayer as something attractive, dismantling a few unhealthy stereotypes along the way, and I imagine would start conversations and ponderings amongst non-Christian kids and their parents/guardians alike.
Hello, my name is Robin. Welcome to That Happy Certainty, where I write and collate on Christianity, culture, and ministry. I’m based in Barrow-in-Furness in South Cumbria, England, where I serve a church family called St Paul’s Barrow, recently merged together from two existing churches, St Paul’s Church and Grace Church Barrow.
Available Now: Advent 2021 – Finding Hope Under Bethlehem Skies
A fresh look at Advent through the book of Ruth. Why not order a bunch for your church to read through Advent together here. 100 for £1 each!