Am I religious? The answer might surprise you.

How can I not be religious?

You may think I must be religious, from some of my posts, and from the fact that I have written a book How to Cope with the Church. In fact I’m not. Not really. I don’t like the ceremony or the hierarchy of religion, but I tried being a Christian without going to church and it didn’t work. You need the support of other Christians, and they need you!

A preacher preaching. Is that why you're not religious? Perhaps he's not either!
A preacher preaching. Is that why you’re not religious? Perhaps he’s not either!

Does God want us to be religious?

On top of that, God wants you to worship him. Of course, you can, and should, do that on your own. Pray, read the Bible, listen to Christian songs. But there’s something important about collective worship. It can take many forms. If you don’t like the first church you go to – if you just don’t fit – try another church. They’re not all the same. It will be worth looking around.

Can my book help if you’re not religious?

I hope it can. Now you know about me, you might realise that I sympathise. Here’s the link, if you haven’t got a copy. https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-cope-Church-John-Murray-ebook/dp/B01LZ53GBS

Happy St Patrick’s Day! A few things to remember about Ireland

I wrote about Ireland some time ago.

You might remember this article. Anyway, I hope you read and enjoy it now. And I wish a Happy St Patrick’s Day to all my readers, whether you are Irish, English or anything else. And certainly whether you are a Protestant or  a Catholic. Let’s all hope and pray Brexit doesn’t wreck the peace process.

Was Alpha the best part of ‘Tell, Serve, Give’ in Warrington this week?

What is Alpha doing in Tell, Serve, Give?

Alpha is just one of the many events put on this week from the 6th to the 10th March, in Warrington and many other parts of the North West. I wrote about this generally in a previous blog. I hope you’ve found something that was right for you.

What is Alpha?

It is a ten-week course on the Christian faith. You don’t need ten weeks off work. It’s ten sessions, usually in an evening or late afternoon. It’s interactive. There’s a video of about twenty minutes where someone, or more than one, talks about a particular aspect of Christianity, such as God, Jesus, the Bible, the Church, Miracles…

Then there’s a discussion where everyone gets to saying what he/she thinks about the questions raised in the video and to ask their own questions. Someone leads it, but only  to keep everyone on the same question, not to insist on a right answer. The idea is for each person to discover their own answer for themselves.

What’s the best bit of Alpha?

Food! There’s usually a meal at the start of each session. As each local group is a bit autonomous, I can’t promise what’s going to be on offer this time. If you’re concerned, check beforehand.

If Alpha is 10 weeks, how could it fit into a four day event?

Simples. What we had on Friday was one-off taster session so you could decide whether you want to do the full version. Even if you decided that it’s not for you, the one-off might have given you something to think about. Or you might have given everyone else something to think about!

What if you missed the Alpha event?

Or what if you don’t live anywhere near Warrington? There are Alpha courses all over the country. Look at the website.

Bring your doubts. They need exploring as much as your faith.

Doubt and Faith: Alpha is a way of exploring both.
Doubt and Faith: Alpha is a way of exploring both.

Will ‘Tell, Serve, Give’ in Warrington end on Sunday 10th March with bubbles?

Tell, Serve, Give will take place all over the Diocese of Liverpool from 6th to 10th March

I have written about this in previous blogs, mainly about things happening in Warrington. The final event will be Bishop and Bubbles in St Elphin’s Church near the Town Centre, on Sunday 10th at 4 pm. It will be a time of celebration. We expect to have a lot to celebrate after all the activities of the previous few days, but Christians have always got something to celebrate! (Annoying, isn’t it, if you’re a miserable old ***?)

The final event of 'Tell, Serve, Give' in Warrington
Bishops and Bubbles: the final event of ‘Tell, Serve, Give’ in Warrington
If you can’t make it, we’ll give you another chance.

There will be visitor-friendly services in several churches in the town that day. I’ll let try to give the details on another blog, but here’s one:

Christchurch is one that will give a special emphasis to visitors on Sunday 10th
Christchurch is one that will give a special emphasis to visitors on Sunday 10th

Of course, some of our churches are visitor-friendly all the time, but a lot of us will be making a special effort on that day. How about you making a special effort to come along? It might not be such a big effort once you decide to come.

Does a fictional or real detective need forensics?

Forensics have become the mainstay of TV detective dramas

Many people now think forensics are the first essential of crime investigation. Of course they are important, but are they always paramount, in real-life or fiction?

When were forensics invented?

I write historical fiction under a pseudonym and was discussing a forthcoming novel which I set in prehistoric times. Someone said that was ridiculous, because they didn’t know about fingerprints back then. Well, the police began using fingerprints only in the late 19th century. However, people had been using physical evidence before that. Read the Brother Cadfael stories by Ellis Peters, which she set in the 12th century, or the Matthew Bartholomew stories, by Susanna Gregory, who set it in the 14th century. Of course, as science generally has progressed, so forensic science has moved on too.

How can you solve a crime without forensics?

A lot of good detectives, in real life and fiction, have relied on questioning suspects and analysing the answers. They catch people out in lies or other contradictions. They apply psychology. (That’s been around since long before Dr Freud). They listened to witnesses.

Do my heroes use forensics?

In my historical novels, my heroes observe physical details as well as using the other means of detection which I mentioned above. In my modern novels, the Accounting for Murder series, my hero, Frank Hill, is an accountant, and uses his investigative skills, which he learnt in unravelling financial matters, when he is solving murders. Of course, the police are also there and provide the bulk of the forensic evidence, but they form wrong opinions about who-dun-it and Frank has to step in to prevent a miscarriage of justice.

I hope you will enjoy following Frank as he follows the trail, tortuous as it usually is, to the solution.

By the way, do you have any thoughts about the cover? I mentioned it in a previous blog.