1) My secret battle – Many will have been following news of Simon Thomas (Sky Sports & ex-Blue Peter presenter) since the news of the tragic death of his wife, Gemma, in November. For the last few weeks he has been sharing his reflections on loss and grief and caring for his son (Ethan) via his blog, and as a committed Christian he hasn’t been ashamed to share his questions and prayers too. But this week Simon courageously opened up about how he’s actually been fighting a much longer battle with anxiety and depression. The piece is well worth reading, and ends with this: “When I struggle to make sense of the mess of my life, when I ask how it can be that Ethan will grow up without his Mum, I think of this verse from the Bible: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.” (Psalm 18:2)
2) Pastors Need Friends Too – It should go without saying, and yet the practice can be harder than the theory. If you find yourself in ministry and feeling alone, or if you imagine you’re on a trajectory to that point, this is an important read.
3) Early Facebook and Google Employees Form Coalition to Fight What They Built – Really interesting news about the launch of the Center for Humane Technology. If you’ve read The Circle, you can breath out again…
4) One day left to respond to Government’s Relationship Education (RE) and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) Consultation – Monday 12th Feb (11.45pm) is the deadline for responding to the Department of Education’s consultation on the implementation of bringing a new subject, RE (primary-aged) and RSE (secondary-aged), into the national curriculum. As far as I can see, the potential for concern here is the way in which such compulsory classes could bypass parents’ own opinions and wisdom on teaching their children on these matters, particularly in regards to what constitutes healthy relationships, and the age-appropriateness of teaching about sexual activity and sexual orientation. Christian Concern have also produced a guide here.
5) My Life: ‘Locked-in Boy’ – Remarkable half-hour documentary telling the story – in his own words – of Jonathan, an extraordinary ten year-old boy who was unable to speak or communicate for the first eight years of his life. Jonathan is also a Christian, and credit to the BBC for allowing his own words to be heard as he shares his bold and humbling faith in Jesus Christ.
6) Reading the Bible in Public with David Suchet – Probably best known for playing Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, you may not also know that David Suchet is a Christian and has recorded a audio version of the whole Bible. Reading the Bible is something that happens in churches across the land every week, and yet we rarely give much thought or training to pursuing excellence in this area. After giving a masterclass to students at Oak Hill College on this very subject, Suchet also gave this eye-opening interview.
7) Gif History – For something a bit different, check out how this dude called Matthew Cherry tracks down the backstory from popular memes and gifs.