What, me worry?

UntoGodRender therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s. – Matt 22:21 (KJV)

Sunday, 22 Feb, 2015.

Today was to be a day of rest. This isn’t just because it’s Sunday, but because I genuinely had no plans or obligations. Today’s page in my diary is astoundingly blank, and this is such a rare occurrence that it seems almost unnatural to me.

Early tomorrow, Monday, I’ve promised to be sixty-five miles from here. It’s something I do gladly, willingly and quite regularly. Without going into detail, the task I perform in driving a one hundred and thirty mile round-trip several times a week is done in Jesus’s name and is performed as a service to someone who serves Him. And if the M42 descends into high-speed tail-gating insanity, as it usually does at that early hour of the morning, then I know all the sleepy back-routes to ensure my companion and I get to where we need to be in one piece.

Tuesday is the day I pay my rent. The cash is in an envelope and secreted in the button-up inside pocket of my trench coat.

Wednesday I’m expecting one of those irregular and intermittent paycheques we freelancers strive for.

These four very different days, taken one day at a time, seem broadly unconnected. And I do tend to live my life on a purely day-to-day basis; I’ve had a rather Matthew 6:34 view of life since 2010 and have led a full and happy life these past five years, I’m sure, because of it.

But today I encountered a bit of a moral conundrum when a trouble of today threatened to become a worry for tomorrow and a major problem by Tuesday which looking forward to Wednesday would not solve.

This particular today’s trouble was of the engine kind; my car broke down this afternoon. Whilst cruising at a mercifully slow pace within inner-city congestion, after a delightful afternoon of twitching, my car suddenly lurched and then stopped dead, though thankfully not too far from home.

Getting anyone sixty-five miles away from here tomorrow morning, via chaotic motorway or sleepy rural roads, was suddenly a problem for tomorrow I simply had to worry about today. I made the necessary phone call and, before long, was towed to a professional mechanic’s workshop. There, in the space of just a few hours, while I paced to-and-fro, chain-smoking and guzzling tea like an angst-ridden relative outside an operating theater, Monty the Mechanic had replaced all the dead bits of the engine with shiny new bits. Monty didn’t mind having his Sunday late-afternoon disturbed by coming to my rescue, partly because he’s a friend of my dad’s but mostly because, even at mate’s rates, he earned himself quite a bundle.

The thing is I had to dip into Tuesday’s rent money to pay Monty his well-earned wage today. In solving tomorrow’s problem, Tuesday was suddenly a major worry. For want of a nail a horseshoe was lost… came to mind, and I reassured myself that having my car roadworthy for tomorrow morning was a priority.

Now, I never pay my rent late because, quite frankly, like many private tenants, I dare not. So, holding back payment of my rent ‘til Wednesday, when I can cash that cheque and make up the sudden short-fall was not an option.

In fact, as I gave my Tuesday situation considerable and worried thought, it became obvious to me that my only option was to borrow some money. To turn to a corporate money-lender on, of all days, a Sunday made me squirm with discomfort as I recalled Jesus loosing His cool that time when he found money-changers in the temple. And here was I, on a Sunday, becoming a client to the spiritual descendants of those lenders. I’ve been debt-free for many years, but decided that it would be better to owe money consensually to a lender today than to a landlord through a broken promise on Tuesday.

And so, with nagging doubt and a heavy heart, I signed on the dotted line and took the loaned cash. It had to be done today, even though today is Sunday which makes it feel doubly inappropriate, because if the loan application had been declined I’d still be left with tomorrow to form a plan-b. I felt that I really had no option; I’d paid Monty the Mechanic with rent money, now I’d have to pay the rent with borrowed money, and pay back the borrowed money with earned money come Wednesday.

I knew an old lady who swallowed a fly… I recalled the rhyme with a sigh of resignation; the tale of a small problem being made much worse with seemingly logical quick-fix solutions. Had I done the right thing? It had, after all, turned out to be an eventful, challenging, trying and fretful Sunday afternoon rather than the lazy one I had expected. I then remembered, without humour, another old saying; the devil finds work for idle hands. Suddenly I felt that I had made a rash mistake and that in worrying about tomorrow – in being somewhat panicked into what I thought was a no-choice situation – perhaps I had stored up all sorts of trouble for the near future.

As I sat at home this evening and quietly reflected on the events of this plan-free and obligation-free Sunday of mine, I asked myself if I could perceive God’s hand in this chain of events. The answers came thick and fast, and, I’m pleased to say, were immensely reassuring. Had I not spent my free time in idle bird-watching this afternoon my car would have remained unused until tomorrow morning, and the minor annoyance of a brake-down near home on a lazy Sunday afternoon would have become an immensely inconvenient stranding on an arse-end-of-nowhere country back-road or – far worse – a catastrophic engine failure at seventy miles an hour on the motorway tomorrow morning. Suddenly I felt blessed… protected, even.

But what of the money situation? I’d spent cash strictly reserved for rent to ensure that my passenger gets to where she needs to be tomorrow morning to…

…ah, yes, to do His work in His name.

After reflection and prayer I feel that the brief debt, the day it was borrowed and when it gets paid back is all just a means to a very justifiable end. Monty the Mechanic is paid in full. Tuesday my rent will be paid in full and on time. Wednesday a cheque will clear and a finance company can have their loan back with interest…

…in fact, by Wednesday I’ll have rendered therefore unto Caesar three times in just four days to ensure that tomorrow I can play my part, in some small way, in giving to God what is His.

And now I think I can return to my customary Matthew 6:34 frame of mind. Today’s worries are over, and tomorrow is another Spirit-led day.

The First Rule of Fasting Club is…

Matt6“The first rule of Fasting Club is: You do not talk about Fasting Club.”

This is my first blog entry in almost two years, but today I can look back and reflect on how time flies when you willingly submerge yourself in that unfathomably deep and immeasurably wide ocean that is the truth and the beauty of Jesus. It’s been a calm and Mediterranean-warm ocean… well, most of the time anyway.

Y’see, I’ve not only refrained from posting here but also broadcast very little across other social media these past twenty-two months. I chose to steer clear from the distractions of Facebook, Twitter and wot’aveyou  because some time ago now, and as a direct result of that novel wot I wrote, I was led into an opportunity to share the Gospel in a more intimate, immediate and one-to-one manner. The experience proved to be both rewarding and fruitful, but it’s not my place to tell of how others find Christ – it should always be their testimony to tell, in their own time and in their own way – and so I’ll say no more on the matter.

A modest smattering of well-attended book-signing events and public-speaking engagements of late have sharpened my wits and reawakened the more gregarious side of my nature, so perhaps it’s time for me to focus my thoughts and express myself more openly again. My second novel, by the way, is still a part-finished and entirely unpolished work-in-progress – not unlike myself – and is yet some considerable way off from publication. But in the meantime I feel the urge to revive this blog and post here as regularly as my giddy life will allow.

It’s Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent finds me feeling somewhat exhausted and burnt-out. I feel the need, or perhaps dare I say I feel the call, to reconnect with Jesus. It’s not that I ever felt disconnected from him, but for the past few weeks I have had the definite sense of needing to upgrade my connection from dial-up to broadband. What better day than Ash Wednesday to make a start, at least, on this much-needed spiritual rewiring of my mind?

Most prominent in my thoughts today is Matthew 6:16-18, the meaning of which I think I’ve probably managed to sum-up succinctly in this post’s headline. And, in keeping with Jesus’s instruction, you must excuse me for not divulging details of which among my Earthly appetites I’m denying myself this Lententide; it’s a private matter between Our Heavenly Father and me. Suffice to say that I expect – perhaps even intend – to encounter some degree of discomfort for a time. In exercising this measure of self-discipline, in abstaining from a mortal need-of-the-flesh, I know, from both Matthew 6 and personal experience, that the void left by the lack of earthly quick-fix fulfillment will be amply filled with something altogether more graceful and more spiritual.

Now please excuse me whilst I go wash my face and shampoo my hair.


Digital Art by Morris-Henshaw after René Magritte (The Son of Man) [Le fils de l'homme]

Digital Art by Morris-Henshaw after René Magritte (The Son of Man) [Le fils de l’homme]

I never cease to be both humbled and amazed that The Holy Spirit chooses to speak directly to us.

And The Holy Spirit does talk to us.

When I speak of such things in certain company I’m subjected to ridicule and scorn; a person who talks to God might be considered a good person but, in certain quarters, a person to whom God talks is condemned as a lunatic. But, unabashed, unashamed and unapologetically, I will continue in my certainty that the Divine knows me and is sometimes in dialogue with me.

I say sometimes…

…it’s all the more likely that, while either waking or sleeping, The Holy Spirit never stops whispering into my mind’s ear. I suspect that it only feels like sometimes because more often than not I’m too wrapped up in myself to hear and heed.

I know that it is in all of us to experience this dialogue because within each and every person Our Heavenly Father has placed something deep and immeasurably precious; it’s a part of Him and it calls from within us, yearning to reconnect with its Maker. Sadly, this depth is all-too-often a hidden one.

We are regimented by society, restrained by peer-pressure, swerved by opinion and shaped by others’ expectations of us. We conform because we feel that we must; because to think or act outside of the shell which society has woven around each of us is to risk being condemned as (at best) eccentric or (at worst) antisocial. Yes, antisocial; as unwelcome and unpopular as the street preacher who feels compelled to tell the Good News each Saturday afternoon in the local High Street, and for his courage is (at best) ignored and (at worst) arrested for causing an obstruction.

And so we line up, in our shells, and conform as is expected of us because to do otherwise is too great a challenge and far too frightening a proposition. We really shouldn’t be so wrapped-up in ourselves.

I’ve seen confectionary upon the supermarket shelf, in Tescos and in dreams, which tells me all I need to know or understand (for now) of that deep and precious something hidden in all of us. Six wide by four deep – lined up in expectant and colourful rank-and-file, like commuters awaiting the 07:52 to Paddington – each looking identical to the ones either side but each filled with individual and exciting potential; we are God’s spiritual Kinder Surprise Eggs.

Layer upon layer upon layer; the protective metallic wrapping, the fragile outer shell of both light and dark, a seemingly impenetrable capsule that innocent hands pop open with ease (but my impatient fingers struggled with for an eternity) and within…

…hidden from view, denied light or air, by layer upon layer upon layer…

…the prize!

The Kinder Surprise which should really come as no surprise at all, because you suspected – no, you knew – it was in there all the time didn’t you? The surprise is in the unwrapping, and the joy comes of discovering the treasure hidden beneath the mass-produced and identical-to-the-last-and-the-next shell. Like the toy in a Kinder Egg, more often than not the treasure from deep within emerges in kit-form. Instructions need to be followed and some assembly by deft and expert hands is required.

I believe that not only the street preacher, but the commuters to Paddington, the High Street shoppers who tut as they tussle and hurry, and the pourers of scorn who need to believe (for now) that they are autonomous in a Godless world…

…and everybody else upon this beautiful sphere…

…have within them a treasure; buried deeper in some than others of course, but never beyond His reach because He placed it there.

I believe that it’s in everyone; this hidden prize, this glorious spark of potential, this little piece of God. Everyone. I can’t imagine that it’s exclusively within those who profess the Christian faith because I can’t imagine Our Heavenly Father being guilty of such discrimination, nor of Christ’s love being so conditional. Irrespective of colour, creed, gender or credo, we’re all God’s children – His kinder – whether we recognise that simple truth or not.

I speak from hard-earned personal experience when I testify that those among us who allow that which is wrapped up deep inside of us to enter into dialogue with the infinite depths of Jesus’s love can find their lives transformed in ways previously undreamt of. If that divine fragment of God was only within Christians then The Holy Spirit could never have reached me; deep could not have called to deep and I would still be a blinkered and dogmatic atheist. I’m no better or more worthy than the next chap – be they a disciple of Jesus or not – but Christ unwrapped me and assembled what lay within. If He can do all that for me, unconditionally, then He can do it for anyone… after all, I only had to ask.

The potential to live within The Holy Spirit is a gift to all mankind. We all need to talk to God and, opinions of other notwithstanding, we all need to hear Him answer. How can we help others break out of their shells, throw off the regimented trappings of secular conformity, recognise their inner-treasure and bring out that Divine spark within them? Perhaps it’s as simple a job as being unashamedly, unselfconsciously and demonstrably Christian day-in and day-out wherever you are and whoever you’re with…

…and most definitely not hiding your light under a bowl…

…or keeping your prize wrapped within its shell.


“Six wide by four deep – lined up in expectant and colourful rank-and-file, like commuters awaiting the 07:52 to Paddington – each looking identical to the ones either side but each filled with individual and exciting potential; we are God’s spiritual Kinder Surprise Eggs.”

Who Washes the Watchers..?

BrainwashingI’m a Christian; an unashamed follower of Jesus. He’s an intrinsic part of my daily life and – oh God! – life is beautiful when lived in Him.

To some observers this, of course, indicates the unfathomable depths of self delusion and border-line insanity to which I’ve sank in order to cope with everyday life. Perhaps it’s my certainty of Christ that annoys my detractors the most, but in their opinion a vast and ancient religious conspiracy has brainwashed me. Yes, only the other day that old chestnut – that cliché – was laid before me again;

“Religious people are deluded and you’re a victim of Christian brainwashing,” opined an acquaintance, almost as a passing aside, during an evening gathering in the pub. I think it was meant as an insult… but it’s just water off a duck’s back to me these days.

Y’see, some days even I can grow weary of hearing the same old sub-Dawkins resume blandly regurgitated by pseudo-intellectuals, probably because I know the script chapter and verse… and used to incant it myself in my pre-Jesus days. It bores me – I do hate to be bored – and, anyway, on this particular occasion I didn’t even have the opportunity to respond to my sceptical friend because immediately after stating his all-encompassing opinion his entire attention was seized by the talent show running at a barely audible volume on a television set partially obscured by the pub’s other patrons

As I continued to observe my pub-bore acquaintance, with his red-top rag newspaper tucked under his arm, his all-but unblinking and waxy eyeballs transfixed upon the pub’s television set, his cell-phone grasped in his hand poised to register via text his all-important verdict on tonight’s wannabe pop star, I asked myself;

To what degree am I brainwashed?

I never have been the type who believes the newspaper headlines without giving any thought to who wrote the lead article and what, if any, was their agenda. I’ve always preferred to ask who publishes the newspaper and where their vested interests lie.

There are those, like my mate here, that fret over who might be voted off a prime-time talent show and put their money into the pocket of a media-baron when text-voting for the next teen idol, but then fail to show up for local elections and thus have no say in which political candidate will govern their lives. It seems far better to me to question the desire to see one particular amateur singer triumph over another and I never could understand why anyone would want to give their money to a corporate media giant that plans to manufacture yet another uninspiring and ephemeral, here-today–gone-tomorrow pop star. But I do vote where it actually matters; I have always reported to the polling stations on election days and voted for the person who best represents my political views. One day I might even declare myself a candidate.

Some people know the soap-operatic name of every resident living upon Coronation Street, but have never said hello to the lonely widower who lives four doors down their own road. Odd, isn’t it, how millions of people are quite content to sit and watch television soap dramas that show them the kind of life they could be living if they weren’t sat at home watching television soap dramas…

I know so many people who love their pet dog and spoil it rotten with brand-name meaty chunks in gravy, but then do nothing to feed the destitute and homeless who remain invisible to them. We should love our pets, but we must love people more – even those who smell bad and live in a cardboard box on the same local park where we let our dogs crap.

My co-drinker at the bar, like most of his friends accompanying him tonight, is quick to applaud the courage of the erudite and outspoken atheists who write books, appear on television shows, make documentaries and endlessly flog their one-trick cash-cow, but he is (perhaps wilfully) oblivious to the staggering courage shown by the Apostles way back when or by those who place themselves in discomfort or peril to work in Jesus’s name today.

The suffering of untold millions in miserable and far away lands are, according to many gathered in this pub, some other county’s problem and clearly somehow self-inflicted. But, to be fair, I have seen them make appropriately sympathetic sounds each and every annual Red Nose Day whilst dropping a fiver into the collection bucket… job done for another year.

How many people question nothing and never need to think too hard because all of life is laid out in a secularly-minded, unchallenging, Western-culture-centric media buffet for them to browse and consume? In living an egocentric life void of social conscience, replete with skew-whiff priorities and a staggeringly inept grasp of what really matters in life – work, television shows, pub, bed – is it actually they who are brainwashed?

Probably, I think. I can testify that as an atheist I was blind to the world about me and concerned only with my own little corner of it. I couldn’t see the bigger picture, though often fooled myself into thinking I could. I almost certainly fooled other people into thinking I could too, most often by regurgitating clever stuff that I’d read or seen on telly. Blind leading blind. The deluded deluding others. In my experience Christians are thinkers whereas many vocal and fashionable atheists only think they’re thinkers.

So, am I brainwashed now that I am part of a large body of people who try to joyously live their lives with a Christ-centric worldview, with all the abstract thought, leaps of imagination and leaps of faith Christianity requires? No. If anything, finding Jesus freed me from the Westernised social conditioning that saturates us all from birth. It wasn’t my brain that got washed, but my soul was definitely plunged into crystal-clear waters and cleansed. I once was lost but now am found… was blind, but now I see.

It is, of course, an absolute nonsense to airily dismiss the entire two billion people on this blessed planet who follow the Christian Faith as brainwashed, and having witnessed the pub-bore’s descent into an hypnotised state at the flick of a television switch, and having considered his swingeing and blinkered read-it-in-an-‘God Delusion’-type-of-book-bought-from-a-supermarket statement concerning Christian brainwashing, I suspect that quite the opposite is true; the constant bombardment of bland and uninspiring messages that saturate our lives through the popular media is robbing too many people of their ability to disengage from the material world, think in an abstract manner and make those leaps of imagination and faith that metaphysical thinking requires.

Brainwashed is a lazy word when used in the context that my pub-bore brandished it; a sound-bite attack upon my worldview by a fool attempting to make me feel foolish. But it’s true to say that we’re all surrounded by a social conditioning, and bombarded daily with fatuous rubbish, which has turned many of us into something far less magnificent and wonderful than our Creator intended us to be.

I thank God, then, that my eyes were opened and that I’m no longer living in a soap bubble; the convenient and compartmentalised selfishness of work, telly, pub and then bed. I am occupied with the much bigger human picture; a picture held within the divine frame of my Christian faith.

But what struck me most last night as I surveyed those that surround me – not just the pub bore but many others there gathered, most of whom I know personally – is how at odds my faith-based thinking is with their worldview. Certainly here, in a real pub in the real world with real people and seemingly very far away from Sunday mornings and congregations of like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ, I’m the one with funny ideas of an invisible beardy magic guy in the sky that don’t fit the norm. I’m Christian and therefore counter-culture. Christianity as counter-culture rather than popular-culture seems profoundly wrong to me now. I know the world would be a simply heavenly place if everyone loved Jesus and gave living by His teachings a fair try.

But, yesterday evening, even if I had felt inclined to engage this all-knowing armchair expert in a lengthy and good-humoured discussion concerning matters pertaining to spirituality, faith and pretty much everything else I’ve mentioned above… it simply wouldn’t have been possible; the turning on of the television set had seen him tune-out and disengage from his surroundings – and the throngs of living, breathing, honest-go-God wholly alive and real people about him – entirely.

It was almost as if he’d been brainwashed.

A Very Personal Giveaway…

GIVEN on Kindle

The Kindle Edition of “GIVEN…”

God, the Devil, an atheist… and his Very Personal Apocalypse!

From midnight Pacific Standard Time (which is 8am GMT in the UK) on 29th December 2012, and for a limited time only, the Kindleedition of my debut novel GIVEN – A Very Personal Apocalypse is FREE to download from Amazon.

There are, of course, an avalanche of free Kindle books appearing on Amazon every day, but this is one you really shouldn’t miss. Usually retailing at $2.99, the pseudo-fictional GIVEN – A Very Personal Apocalypse is a mind-bending full-length novel for the mature and discerning reader.

This is labelled a ‘Christian’ book, but this understates its breadth and depth. There are dilemmas, lessons and morals for both the spiritually and secular minded people within these pages. This is without a single preachy word, it’s a fable not a sermon.

– Birdg33k, Amazon.com

It’s a ferocious, bold, urgent and unapologetically forthright work told from the single fixed-perspective of a narrator who barely leaves his room. There’s a sense of helplessness throughout the story, like being in the eye of a storm; the narrator has little option but to hide away in his bolt-hole and pray while everything about him is torn to pieces by (perhaps supernatural) forces beyond his control. This isn’t just a book, it’s true modern literature…

Oliver, Goodreads.com

FInd out more at its Amazon product page: at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

And you don’t need to own a Kindle device to enjoy Kindle books from Amazon; free reader aps for various devices are available from Amazon here.

Why not grab yourself a copy? Happy New Year!

If Music be the Food of Love…

If_Music_be_the_Food_of_LoveIt was about four years ago when a close friend of mine, named Ray, took quite a fancy to a girl. Besotted, I think, is the adjective we’re looking for here. And why not? She was pretty and intelligent and outgoing and… oh, you know; all those wonderful things that make a young fool’s giddy heart beat faster and mouth turn dry.

But, alas, the young lady in question showed Ray little more than indifference.

Now, the thing is; this girl was really into her music. I don’t mean she was a groupie, or fanatically followed any particular band; I mean to say that she loved to play instruments. She was, I dare say, quite the musician.

But Ray knew nothing about music or the making thereof. In fact he was still under the impression that those black and white things at the front of a piano were called teeth. He was an exceptional bricklayer though.

Ray, always a resourceful fellow and ever a dreamer, decided that he must better himself if he was to hit it off with the girl of his dreams…

He therefore decided upon the bold move of taking an intensive private course of piano lessons. Then, he reasoned, when next bumping into this musical girl, he could fluently converse in the mysterious language of the musicians; he could talk to her of semi-quavers, C-sharps and the fact the Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.

He found a private tutor and learned how to make his meaty and callused bricky’s fingers dance over those things that he now understood were called keys. He also invested as much money as he did time in buying books on music, musicians and other music-related things, which he then pored over day and night. He devoured all the information he could from scores of books, while zealously practicing the keyboard from books of scores. He was, after all, a man with a mission; Ray was doing all of this to win the girl he adored, and what greater motivation could Ray have to succeed?

Six weeks and eighteen very expensive and extremely intensive lessons later…

…Ray was hopelessly in love with his music teacher.

And the feelings were entirely mutual, I must add.

The girl for whom he had gone to so much time, expense and trouble – for whom he had devoted himself to the Herculean effort of mastering the piano in such a startlingly short time, for whom he had learnt a whole new lexicon and developed very a genuine interest in this Liberacean pursuit – was all but forgotten! She never got a chat to him about treble clefs, countermelodies, nocturenes or the Baroque movement of 1600ad to 1750ad because…

…Ray was busy making beautiful music with an entirely different woman.

There’s probably a moral to this story…

…and I suspect that it’s this; despite our kack-handed endeavours to achieve what we feel we want and acquire what we think we need, God knows what’s best for us.

Bound to Overflow

It is my privilage to count among my friends many people who work tirelessly, and without worldly reward or recognition, to assist the poor and suffering in less privileged countries. They travel to parts of the globe where many dare not go, and walk upon mournful ground where others fear to tread. They step far out of their comfort zones to bring a little succour to those in desperate need. Most of them are Christian, and they do what they do because Jesus asks them to.

I also frequently encounter people who question the validity of international charity. “Why should we take care of some other country’s poor?” They ask. “We have our own needy and own causes here to give our money to. Let their governments and their leaders sort out their problems. Charity begins at home; blood is thicker than water!”

Blood and water; didn’t both pour from Christ’s wounds as he died for us all?

Today ‘charity’ is a word strongly associated with giving but, although giving is an act of charity, what charity actually means is love.

Love doesn’t recognise national boundaries or borders; we’re all God’s children regardless to country of birth or shade of skin, and this entire world is the home He made for us to share.

We refer to the seven billion beating hearts upon God’s good Earth as the human race, but perhaps it’s a fallacy to think of ourselves in terms of a race (or, worse still; races). We are the human family for whom Jesus spilled his blood, and we are loved unconditionally by Our Heavenly Father. There should be no ‘them and us’ in family, there should only be ‘we’. And we, as He instructed, should love one another indiscriminately.

It is unconditional love that drives my friends abroad.

“Love without boundaries or borders. Love without limits or reservations. Love brings Heaven down to Earth; love will always win,” to paraphrase my friend Dil who, with gentleness, humility and Jesus at his shoulder, does stuff like this; Touch 1000 Lives

Blood might indeed be thicker than water, but the work of Dil and a great many other unsung heroes proves that love is thicker than blood.


When I look at my life it’s often impossible to see the big picture – I just recall fragments from the past. These scattered fragments I see are snapshots of the mournful and difficult times. They are multitude. They are too many. At times I think far too many than is fair[1].

It becomes difficult to focus on anything but the past pain, loss and sorrow during self-indulgent, self-pitying, poor me… poor me… pour me another drink days. Innumerable tiny islands of grief float upon a life that seems as dark and vast as any disconsolate sea.

But these fragments aren’t imagined islands; they’re nothing so grand. They are, however, moth holes in thick, black fabric which, when held up to the window of life, obscures the light almost in totality. What little illumination that remains is forced to shine through the damage inflicted by a thousand tiny insect-incisor nibbles; accentuating them, exaggerating them, making them seem much bigger than they have any right to be.

I try not to dwell upon the past, but sometimes it’s very difficult. I fear that one day that black drape will envelope me entirely.

Online and in the world at large I’ve been all-but a recluse these past few months because – despite my best efforts in faith – I’ve spent too much time staring at the illuminated moth holes that are shotgun-peppered throughout the pitch-black blind. In doing so I have succumbed to my old fear of men and suffered a terrible and lengthy bout of my indigestion of the brain. I’ve ignored obligations, let friends down, missed deadlines, spurned all company, been thoroughly unproductive and utterly unreliable.

I’ve also entirely failed to appreciate the bleedin’ obvious until the Holy Spirit showed me this truth in a dream earlier today;

That black blind is a drape of my own tailoring.

And as I hold it up to the window of my life the brilliance it obscures is the Light of Christ.

Mea culpa.

I need to tear down the curtain, throw open the window once more and let the light shine in. It is an irrational fear of the past that too often brings me to my knees…

…but at least today I will remember to pray while I’m down there.

[1] My pseudo-fictional “GIVEN – A Very Personal Apocalypse” covers the subject with – some say – far too much candour and detail. I’d love you to buy, borrow or steal a copy. Amazon – ISBN: 1475164866 and ASIN: B007Q296GE

Released Today in Paperback and on Kindle…

It’s out.

GIVEN – A Very Personal Apocalypse, my debut novel, is published today.

The story takes the form of diary entries made during the early part of 2010; first person and present tense throughout. Over twenty-one days the narrative charts the complete mental and spiritual collapse of an ex-atheist who, at least at the beginning of the story, is referring to himself as a Christian… perhaps hypocritically and for his own personal agenda.

The attack comes one perfectly normal evening, when what initially feels like a minor episode of angst begins to snowball into a crushing avalanche of inexplicable fear and dread. Something is coming… something is going to happen… and I can’t possibly be a good thing… can it?

The ravenous days and weeks that follow prove to be a very personal apocalypse.

From inside the head of a jaded and misanthropic man comes the tale of a journey through a personal Hell; a story of despair, hope, love, loss, confusion, dreams, visions, insight, loathing, fear, doubt,  faith, reconciliation, salvation,  liars, serpents, truth, light, fasting, prayer, madness, delusion, illumination, guilt, anguish, the Devil, Jesus (and) God.

It’s an autobiographical novel, based a true events. My story. My testimony. Warts an’ all.

Given is available now in paperback and on Kindle from the following vendors;

The paerback's coverThe Trade Paperback: You can currently purchase the Trade Paperback from The Pipit Books CreateSpace Store, Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk


Pipit Books





The Limited Edition coverThe Limited Edition: featuring an alternate cover, and also signed & numbered by the author, is available exclusively from the given website’s how to buy page. This edition is limited to strictly twenty-one copies worldwide.


The Given Website




The Kindle coverThe Kindle Edition: is the second outing this novel has as an ebook. This 2nd Edition is the complete, unabridged novel and includes some material omitted from the previous release.


The Kindle Edition is FREE to download this weekend only from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Here’s  a once-only opportunity to grab the complete full-length book for free, but also a great chance for previous readers of “GIVEN…” to upgrade their beta copy at no cost for the fully polished article. If you don’t own a Kindle, Amazon provide several free Kindle Reader apps for various devices; check out their site.

GIVEN 2 – A Very Social Purgatory is in the works. Stay tuned!