Sunday, 30 January 2011


The other day I came home to a lovely meal of sausage casserole with dumplings.  When I saw this on the cooker I knew it would taste fantastic. However, something inside of me went uuurgh! Seeing the dumplings I was taken back to my childhood meals of soggy, greasy dumplings and casseroles that smelled, looked and tasted awful.

It's a funny thing memory, our brain stores all sorts of stuff and often past traumatic memories, no matter how big or in my case small, are triggered by situations in the present. The emotions we feel and our responses are actually more about the past memories rather than the present. Many people unfortunately are regularly triggered by events in their daily lives which bring up powerful emotions and responses that the have never been dealt with. They may actually be unaware of the trigger or past hurt. When triggered we react not to the event before us but to the emotion from the past.

For me I know there are times in my past that have given me significant self worth issues and if I'm in a situation where I feel attacked, rejected or criticised I know this can easily trigger me and I start to get the numbing feeling of being worthless.  If I don't realise it I can very easy retreat into my shell scurrying away from the world - becoming little Steven again.

The good news is that I am becoming more aware of these triggers so I know why I feel so bad about myself, out of all proportion to what is going on in front of me.  This is the first step in redeeming my past and moving on from hurts that hold me back.

So back to the dumplings, a silly example I know.  Well they were delicious and I am sure after 5 or 10 more dumpling meals I will have provided myself with enough positive memories of dumplings so that this food 'scar' will be healed once and for all!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The Cartoon Church

I discovered The Cartoon Blog just before Christmas and we now have the 2011 calendar!

The artist Dave Walker seems to capture some of the comic absurdities of church life.

Go have a look and put a smile on your face.

Monday, 24 January 2011

The greatest love of all?

Do you remember Whitney Houston’s 80’s hit “The greatest love of all”

I used to hate it with a passion, especially the lyric “learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all”.
How self indulgent! What about others? Surely the greatest love is the selfless sacrificial love of others before yourself.

Well now I’m not so sure.

Jesus said, the two greatest commandments are to love God and love your neighbour as yourself (Matt 22:36-40). Now lets read that backwards and what do you find that you can’t love your neighbour very well if you don’t love yourself.

What does it mean to love yourself? I think it means you really need to know and accept yourself, warts and all - and we all have warts (using mental & emotional ones).

I’m sure most of us have done some sort of personality or physcological test (Belbin, Myers Briggs, Emotional Health) these are useful for us to know ourselves, but how much do we really look at these to understand and accept and know ourselves.

I think we almost always need help to really understand ourselves.  Having had some counselling I know more about myself (and also about others) than I could have ever known on my own – no matter how many tests I did.

Richard Rohr said,
“How you love people is how you love God,
How you love God is how you love people,
How you let God love you is how you let people love you"

There is so much in this and it is so challenging. I want to add a line to this statement:

"How much I will love (know) myself I can love people and therefore God."

So take some time to know, accept and love yourself today.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

This is my son...

At the beginning of January I was at my Dad's 80th birthday party, back in my home town of South Shields.

It was a great time to be with my brothers and sisters again, see relatives I haven't seen for years and to discover relatives I didn't even know existed!  Most of all it was great to be in some small way part of a great crowd who were there to say, "We love you" to my Dad.

One particular aspect of that evening is still with me.  I took my Dad there early so he could be at the club to welcome people as they arrived.  All of the early arrivals where his friends from the club, they were arriving early so they could get their bingo tickets - don't ever get between people and the bingo!

As Dad welcomed them he would then introduce me with phrase, "This is my Son". That description and the words of my Dad saying it again and again have stayed with me, I can hear it in my mind now as clear as day.

I felt and feel proud that Dad was happy and proud to introduce me as his son.  I know I was right next to him when he was saying it to people, but that is just it, he was saying it to other people and I was getting to hear it. It was then usually followed by a hearty handshake, a warm smile and kind words. It was like having my own mini affirmation session!

To know my Dad not only acknowledges me as his son but is proud to do so has been a wonderful present at the start of this year.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

My books of the year

At the start of the year I made a realistic list of books I want to read.  There 20 on this list, out of the 40-50 books I have that are yet to be read. No doubt I may add some other books on the way and some on this list could become casualties of war (the new books overtaking these ones).

I hope to write a simple review of each book over the course of the year.  Why not let me know what books you are reading or what you think of these books if you have read them. 

The books I am reading now
Team of rivals : the political genius of Abraham Lincoln – by Doris Kearns Goodwin
[So far it is an absorbing historical account and a look into the mind & working of one of the truly great leaders]
The Road Less Travelled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth – by M.Scott Peck
[I am trying to read a chapter or two of this a week as part of trying to understand myself and my world – incredibly insight and very readable]
The Story From The Book - From Adam to Armageddon – by Ted Miller
[A summary paraphrase of the bible – reading this I hope to get a better sense of the sweep of scripture]
Books I plan to read this year
Persian fire: the first world empire and the battle for the West – by Tom Holland
[His previous book Rubicon on the Roman Empire was fascinating]
The War of the World – by Niall Ferguson
[His previous book Empire on the British Empire was excellent and made me proud to be British!]
The world needs more elders – by PJ Smyth
Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul – by John Eldredge
The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity – by William Paul Young
You Can Change: God's Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behaviour and Negative Emotions – by Tim Chester
The Associate – by John Grisham
The Catcher in the Rye – by J. D. Salinger
[I never read any classics when I was younger so I am trying to catch up, no pun intended]
The Road – by Cormac McCarthy
Gridlock – by Ben Elton
Frank Skinner (The Autobiography) – by Frank Skinner
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference – by Malcolm Gladwell
Leadership Handbook of Management and Administration – by James D. Berkley
Disabled Church-Disabled Society: The Implications of Autism for Philosophy, Theology and Politics – by John Gillibrand
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want – by John Gray
[pop psychology I know but I thought I’d give it a quick read]
The Wisdom of Crowds – by James Surowiecki
Making Time: Why Time Seems to Pass at Different Speeds and How to Control It – by Steve Taylor

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Be Holy – Be British

“Be holy because I am holy” Lev. 11:44,45; 19:2 & 1 Peter 1:16

I have often wondered to myself when reading or hearing this verse in scripture – so exactly how do I do that – be holy?

I wonder this because I know “being” holy isn’t about just a list of things to do or don’t do – although this can help (sometimes!). No my problem is I have come at this from the wrong angle. I saw this as purely an instruction rather than a “wake up” call.

If it was written “be British” then I would say, "yes I am"!

It is not so much an instruction as a description of our identity. You either are or are not British. When I was born I became British even though I didn’t choose to be, know or even do anything about it. Can I be more or indeed less British? I don’t think so.

It’s more about living as a person who is holy. As a Christian I have been born again, and when that happened I became holy.

I hope that for the rest of my life, I live more as a person who is holy than as one who tries to be holy.

Friday, 14 January 2011


Let me introduce myself, I’m Steven Hunter.  Up to this point I have led quite a varied life, right now I live in Bishop’s Stortford where I work as a church administrator.

This is a job which means I very much have a “finger in all the pies” hence the name of this blog.

So why do a blog?  Well I’ll give you five reasons:
  • Having to write\create content for this blog will I hope both stretch and develop me.
  • The idea of journalling has always been something I wanted to do and get into yet I have always struggled, so somehow I hope that this blog will serve somewhat as a personal journal.
  • It’s a way to interact in a different way with friends both near and far because in one way or another we are all inter-connected. One aspect of this blog will be to help connect others across the virtual (& real) world – seeing different, relevant and strange views, ideas and creations.
  • Reading other blogs over the past year has inspired and challenged me, so I want to in some small way inspire and challenge others.
  • I think it will be fun, I hope you think so too.
So please do comment (and subscribe!) on my posts if they speak\tickle\challenge\annoy you.

Let the adventure begin.