I am, first and last, just human. Although some may dispute that, I have done tests and it is true. I am Christian. I see in Jesus the true meaning of love and grace, and I am awed by it. I think the church has lost sight of that, largely, but it is no less awesome for that. My wife is a truly beautiful person, in every way, and my son is my joy. Professionally, I work in education, although it is more than just a job to me, it is a missionfield.
My life metaphor is of a battle. That sounds a bit grim, I know, but the truth is that I don’t see life as either easy or fun. I have fought my battle with depression, and – I believe – won. Still, I can no longer simply see life as good. We are a broken and lost people. Every day, a war rages for our hearts. I cannot avoid the horrors of that war, nor ignore the overwhelming numbers of casualties and their terrible injuries. I cannot unsee. And so I elect to fight, a soldier, fighting to help people regain their lost hearts. If that is not possible, at least I hope to assist a few in their struggle to survive.
But despite my life-as-struggle worldview, my ethics are peaceful. Jesus’ response to the violence we leveled at him in the name of righteousness at Gethsemane was to forgive. If we are truly to have a Christ-centred theology, then we cannot but embrace a Christ-centred ethic. And that means pursuing peace. It means loving our enemies, not seeking their destruction. It means finding ways to erase the socially drawn lines that define who is acceptable and who is not. It means restoring human dignity, choosing forgiveness over vengeance, love over righteousness, grace over holiness. I choose to serve.
I love my country. And not just because of its natural beauty, although I could very happily live as a hermit in the African savannah. I love its people. They are my family. But it is a broken home, with a bitter, abusive past, and I want to be part of bringing about some sort of restoration.
I support Crystal Palace Football Club with a faithfulness that the club does not always reciprocate. I love football. I love books (Jeanette Winterson above all), films and poetry. I love good food and good wine. They will probably carve “Hansa, please” on my tombstone. I love nature. I love art. I love sport. I love games – especially chess and Magic the Gathering. I love ’80s Christian Metal as much as I love the music of Haydn and Mozart. My favourite theologians are N.T. Wright, S. Mark Heim, Michael Hardin, Richard Rohr, James Alison and Brad Jersak. I am constantly appalled at the depths to which humans can sink. Myself included. I am constantly inspired by the beauty of people’s selfless acts. Myself included.
As long as it may often seem, I believe that life is short. We spend too much time chasing the wind, looking for happiness in fleeting things, when the only true joy and fulfilment comes from serving a purpose higher and bigger than our lives. And even then, only when we give it our all.