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Issue 1 January - March 2009


Born to Dance RTÉ’s Ballet Chancer Donking Rongavilla

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12 months of hit movies for 2009

City Lights

Too young to kill? An Irish charity provides hope in place of horror

One church’s response to binge drinking

VOX | Jan - Mar 2009 | 1

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Worship Teaching Ministry

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editorial Freedom of Speech?

Will you join our conversation?






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“It’s like talking to a brick wall.” “I can’t get a word in edgeways.” “You never listen to me.” Does that sound familiar? Conversation can be a messy business. It is relatively easy to deliver a lecture or a sermon, especially if your audience is too polite to heckle. You hold centre stage and your opinion is what counts. The art of conversation, however, combines talking with listening. It requires an exchange of thoughts, opinions and feelings between different people. Healthy conversation can be painful and humbling unless you are willing to risk estrangement. When it works, though, the result is worth the effort. Richer relationship, greater understanding, deeper concern and stronger commitment - they all flow from good communication. VOX is Latin for “voice”. We want to hear “VOX Hiberniae” (the voice of the Irish). We want people in Ireland to discuss faith, life and reality in the 21st century. This is the start of our conversation; a chance to explore issues and hear different viewpoints; to think and maybe re-think. We will investigate new ideas, share stories and question the status quo, while holding on to timeless values. We won’t always get it right. You may not agree with everything you read in VOX. That’s okay! But I hope we can show respect for each other and value the search for understanding. Feel free to write with your own opinion – For the perfect example of free speech, I keep coming back to Jesus. His speech was characterised by love and compassion (especially towards those excluded or shunned by society). He gave dignity, value and respect to people condemned as ‘sinners’. (His friends were surprised, maybe even shocked, when they found Him talking with a Samaritan woman who had a colourful reputation). Jesus was ready to listen. When a sick woman reached out for healing, He took time to hear her story. And He was willing to speak out - challenging corrupt money-changers and hypocritical religious leaders (read his stinging rebuke in Matthew 23). He even voiced some pretty radical political opinions. (“Love your enemies!”) Will you join our conversation? I hope it will be characterised by the qualities of free speech Jesus demonstrated. It may be messy or even painful at times. I believe it will be worth it… but feel free to disagree!

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Issue 1


Jan - Mar

2009 |

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VOX | Jan - Mar 2009 | 3




January - March 2009, Issue 1 Publisher: Solas Publishing


Editor Ruth Garvey-Williams


Advertising Sheila Lindsay


Operations and Layout Jonny Lindsay Directors Tom Slattery (EAI), Mike Mullins (OM Ireland) Dr. Abimbola Afolabi (Oasis of Love) Subscriptions Ireland (32 counties): €12 for four issues Overseas: €22 for four issues All cheques should be made payable to Solas Publishing. Solas Publishing Ulysses House 22 - 24 Foley Street Dublin 1 Tel: 01 443 4789

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The views expressed in letters and articles are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Solas Publishing. The acceptance of advertising does not indicate endorsement. Print: Beulah Print, Dundalk VOX magazine is a quarterly publication, brought to you by Solas Publishing, a joint project of Evangelical Alliance Ireland, OM Ireland and Oasis of Love.

Oasis of Love

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Cover Stories City Lights – one church’s response to the challenge of binge drinking Too young to kill? – Child Soldiers Irish charity Zest4Kidz provides hope in place of horror VOX Interview: Born to Dance Baller Chancer Donking Rongvilla Coming soon: 12 months of hit movies for 2009 Special Feature For better or worse? – exploring marriage in modern-day Ireland as we prepare to mark the first Marriage Week Ireland. VOX Views Part of the solution? Fears of recession can lead to negative reactions against immigrants. What is the Christian response? Fear, Finance and Firm Foundations Failing businesses, rising unemployment, falling confidence… the credit crunch gives many reasons for fear and uncertainty. Is it possible to remain secure? Loving God with all your mind Logic and intellect rarely spring to mind when we think about love. So how can someone love God with their mind? Regular Features VOX: Shorts VOX: World News VOX: Sports VOX: Gaelige

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Worldwatch VOX: Reviews Classifieds and Event Listings VOX: P.S.

YOUR VOX Write to us with your comments, opinions and questions about any article you read in VOX. Tell us what you find helpful. Disagree with us. Share an alternative view. Respond to other contributors. We will print short letters and emails but ask that everyone who contributes to “Your VOX” supplies us with their full name 4 | VOX | Jan - Mar 2009

and home address. We will not be able to publish long letters in full. Email: with “Your VOX” in the subject line or write to: Your VOX, VOX Magazine, Solas Publishing, Ulysses House, 22-24 Foley Street, Dublin 1

VOX:SHORTS Bible Illustrated: The Book

Welcomed with open arms or branded as sacrilege, a new magazine version of the New Testament has prompted a mixed response. A 286-page glossy magazine, “Bible Illustrated” contains the whole New Testament minus chapter and verse numbers. Full colour images throughout the magazine are by turns breath-taking, violent, provocative, inspirational, shocking and moving - much like the book itself. Check out www.bibleilluminated. com for a sneak preview or to buy the book online. (Also available from www. Why not write and tell us what YOU think? Email:

UCB Ireland launches National Radio service on satellite

On October 27, 2008 UCB Ireland launched Ireland’s first national Christian radio service on channel 0214 of Sky satellite. The station claims a mix of inspirational Christian music, teaching and words of encouragement. Later this year, UCB Ireland hopes to be available via Cable TV and MMDS systems and on digital radio. UCB Ireland is interested in hearing from Irish Christian programme providers. Contact the station on either 01 429 9899 or by email on Want to know more? Check out

HIV / AIDS infections still rising

A total of 362 newly diagnosed HIV infections were reported in Ireland during 2007. This compares to 337 diagnosed in 2006 and represents a 7.4% increase. The cumulative total number of HIV infections reported to the end of 2007 is 4,781. How should we respond? Check out

Moving towards renewable energy

Ireland’s use of sustainable energy doubled between 2003 and 2007, according to a report by Sustainable Energy Ireland. Renewable energy sources now account for 9% of Ireland’s electricity consumption with half coming from wind power. There is still a long way to go, however, if Ireland is to meet its target of 15% of electricity produced from renewable sources by 2010. How are you saving energy? Write to us at

Teen Magazines Uncovered In a survey of teen magazines carried out for Youth for Christ Ireland, Suzie Evans read Teen Vogue, J-14, Seventeen, Top of the Pops, Kiss, Sugar Lad Mag, Sugar, Mizz and Bliss Magazines to evaluate the content. Recurring topics included: Inappropriate images: In many adverts, women are dressed seductively or hardly dressed at all. Eating disorders: Following an article about eating disorders, one TeenVogue reader wrote encouraging them to stop using ‘rail thin’ models and to ‘practice what they preach’ by using healthy models in photo shoots. Horoscopes, etc.: Every magazine has horoscope pages. In Sugar, there’s an article called, ‘Meet my mum – the demon hunter’. The spiritual realm is portrayed as fun and harmless.

Beauty: All the magazines address the “need” to be beautiful. In Kiss, there are photos of famous people looking fairly normal without their make up. Sadly, the negative comment beside the photos suggests the celebs shouldn’t leave the house that way. In Mizz, one article commented that the dress worn in a photo was too short and advised readers not to wear too much make up. However, Mizz models are well made up and often wear short skirts and low-cut tops. Sexuality: Bliss describes a 19-year-old who makes money by lap dancing, pole dancing and stripping. It glamorises the sex industry. Seventeen encourages girls to wait until they are ready for the ‘right one’ or until marriage to have sex. It gives advice on how to get over guilt from previous sexual encounters. Generally, the American magazines promote the idea of waiting more than British and Irish magazines. In an article about college life, a columnist writes, ‘be free…date around, learn what you really want from a guy’.

VOX | Jan - Mar 2009 | 5

VOX:SHORTS MISSION-NET kicks off in Germany

Migrant Churches on the Rise Ireland is home to more than 361 migrantled churches and chaplaincies, according to new research. The number of migrant faith communities across the nation has doubled over the last 10 years. Vibrant congregations reflect the increasing diversity of multi-cultural Ireland.

The largest group is the Nigerian Redeemed Christian Church of God, a Pentecostal ministry with 70 different centres in the Republic and three in the North. A directory of Migrant Churches, published by the All-Ireland Churches Consultative Meeting on Racism, is now available online (

Shoebox Appeal

Oldenburg, Germany is the place to be over Easter, 8 - 13 April 2009 when Europe’s largest mission event launches. Over 100 Christian organisations will be represented and thousands are expected to make the treck to Northern Germany from all corners of Europe. For more information, see or call 087 294 9518

Taize Prayer

Thousands of the world’s neediest children benefit from Operation Christmas Child – the shoebox appeal run by charity Samaritan’s Purse. Celebrating its 10th year in Ireland, the appeal attracted a tremendous response in 2008 despite economic doom and gloom. 269,148 giftfilled shoeboxes were sent from Ireland to 10 destinations in Eastern Europe and Southern Africa. Find out more at www.

Several churches and groups from various denominations in Ireland are adopting a Taize model of prayer. One such group for young adults is run at St Joseph’s RC church, Bird Avenue, Dublin at 8pm on the second Tuesday of every month. Taize is an interdenominational community in France ( The prayer model uses meditative chants, Bible readings and silence to help people experience God’s presence.


Check out the Connect youth event at Kilkenny College from Friday to Sunday 20-22 February. Teens are invited to connect with God through great Bible teaching and worship, connect with other teens through fun interaction and connect their faith with the real world. First launched as “Beyond 48” in 2007, the event has attracted 340 teens and their youth leaders from all across the country. Connect is run by OM Ireland in partnership with YFC and Scripture Union. Want to know more? Go to

It’s all ελληνικά to me :: Lessons from a Greek Teacher “The rocks do be slippy when the tide do be in.” Adults smiled bemusedly at the child when she said these words at the seaside. She was trying to overcome a shortcoming in the English language. In English it is difficult to express an ongoing or habitual situation without resorting to extra words such as always or continually. (Note: It is easier in Irish!!) This problem is compounded for the reader of the New Testament because the original Greek present tense has more sense of the continuous. Being aware of this should help us understand some texts that could present difficulty. What did Jesus mean when he told (John 8:11) the woman charged with adultery to ‘sin no more’? Perhaps ‘don’t go on sinning’ is closer? 6 | VOX | Jan - Mar 2009

Does the follower of Jesus never ever sin (1 John 3: 9)? Or does he or she not sin continually? And is being filled with the Spirit meant to be a dramatic ‘onceoff’ (Ephesians 5:18) or an ongoing reality? Even without having recourse to Greek, do check out a ‘difficult’ verse by consulting different English versions or a good commentary because words as well as rocks ‘do be slippy’! Warren Nelson, originally from Drogheda, Co. Louth, taught at the Irish Bible School in Co Tipperary. He now enjoys active retirement and DIY near Tullamore.

VOX:WORLDPoisoned! NEWS Shocked by what he saw on a visit to Kosovo, photographer Daithi Mac an Bhiocaire from Cork is supporting a campaign to highlight the plight of Roma people exposed to lead poisoning in UN camps. “My first trip to the north of Mitrovica was in summer 2006,” Daithi shared. “I was aware that a UN doctor was starting a drugs programme to try and counter the effects of lead poisoning in Roma youngsters. I spent a couple of days in the UN-run camps photographing families and then one evening accompanying Dr Kim, the Korean American doctor. He said he had never seen such cases before, except in textbooks. “

In November 2008, leading Roma rights activist Paul Polansky visited Ireland to speak with TDs, human rights groups and journalists about the problem. Calling for immediate evacuation of UN camps and medical treatment for the Roma (gypsy) children, Paul Polansky explained that lead poisoning has resulted in brain damage, discoloured teeth, memory loss, aggression, disorientation and even death for hundreds of children. Want to know more? Check out

A year of terror in India Since December 2007, Christians have suffered violent persecution in the West Indian state of Orissa. Largely unnoticed by the world’s media, the campaign of terror began last Christmas and was heightened by a series of false rumours blaming Christians for the murder of a Hindu swami (even though Maoist militants claimed responsibility). Thousands were left homeless, driven to hiding in forests or sheltering in state-run relief camps, when violent gangs rampaged through towns and villages. Priests and protestant church leaders have been killed, nuns raped and hundreds of individuals attacked in recurring outbursts of violence over the last 12 months. The All India Christian Council has reliable reports of 118 murdered Christians, and the death toll could be considerably higher as many have disappeared without trace. “Threats and coercion against Christian

leaders continue unrestrained,” said AICC Secretary General Dr John Dayal. “We pray for peace and restoration of the rule of law, but the local Christian community is understandably pessimistic.” The AICC has provided blankets and other household items to thousands of victims in both private and government relief camps. Dr. Joseph D’Souza, the AICC President, commented, “Greater than the tragedy of violent attacks on innocent Christians is the ongoing travesty of justice in Orissa and other states across India. Both the state and central government refuse to prosecute rightwing Hindu ultranationalists who incite violence against minorities. This impunity is disgraceful for the world’s largest democracy.” Discover the latest news from Orissa at or on the Irish site “Church in Chains” – an Irish voice for persecuted Christians: VOX | Jan - Mar 2009 | 7


Ordinary people in Derry are shining light into their city through simple acts of kindness. Ruth Garvey-Williams found out more.

It’s a freezing Friday night on the streets of Derry. By 10pm the end-of-the-week celebration is just getting started. Nightclubs are filling up, while those too young to get in congregate on the city walls or vacant benches. Into this picture walks an unlikely group. The Street Pastors from Derry’s Cornerstone City Fellowship have hit the streets every Friday night for the last three years. Armed with hot tea, coffee and soup and dressed in high-visibility

see them!” People are baffled by the Street Pastors. They ask, “Why are you doing this?” The response? - “Because you matter.” Norman Mc Corkell, who runs the programme, described how the Street Pastors began. “Three years ago we looked at different areas of the city and what was going on. We asked: How can our church empower its people to give something to the city that is helping; not preaching but practi-

“The amount of assaults, anti-social behaviour and vandalism has reduced since the Street Pastors began working in Derry. “ waterproof jackets, the volunteers are there to demonstrate God’s unconditional love. Giving out free drinks and chatting with people who are drunk might not seem the most effective local church activity. Yet the Street Pastors have made a significant impact. “From our point of view, they play an invaluable role,” shared Paul Deacon, City Centre Inspector with the PSNI. “They are always there regardless of the weather, handing out teas and coffees. It is hard to put a figure on it, but we have noticed that the amount of assaults, anti-social behaviour and vandalism has reduced since the Street Pastors began working in Derry. We are always glad to 8 | VOX | Jan - Mar 2009

cally working out what we believe?” The church soon discovered that one of the biggest problems for the city was the growing trend of under-age and binge drinking. Derry City Council website states: “Binge drinking culture is common with both teenagers and young adults alike. Ireland has one of the highest proportions of 14-15 year old binge drinkers in Europe (Alcohol Concern report on Stockholm Conference).” Learning of a similar project in England, Cornerstone City Fellowship launched Street Pastors as their

response to the city’s problems. “We care about our city,” Norman said. “The police and the council understand that they cannot fix the alcohol problem. We also have a very high rate of suicide and depression.” “We are not preaching but providing a listening ear. We help those who are drunk to sober up with a hot drink and provide a safe place for people who feel in danger.” From initial suspicion, the attitude of local authorities has changed radically. The church now serves on the city’s Civic Alcohol Forum – one of only two member organisations actively addressing the alcohol problem. “Week on week we are sowing seeds,” Norman explained. “Some nights we get a chance to talk or pray with people, some nights we don’t. People tell you where to go and where to put your coffee!” “Some nights it is so cold, you would rather close the door and get something

nice to eat. But seeing someone’s life transformed makes it worthwhile.” “Two months ago, I met a 16-year-old who was drinking every Friday night, down at the city walls. He was well-read and had all the awkward questions. After a while, he would stand with us for the whole evening.

“Ireland has one of the highest proportions of 1415 year old binge drinkers in Europe” “We shared honestly that we did not have answers to all his questions. Finally he came to our Sunday night event and made a commitment to follow Jesus. He has given up drinking, goes to our youth group and has an ongoing relationship with God.” ‚ Want your church to make an impact

in your town or city? Norman Mc Corkell recommends “Servolution” by Dino Rizzo. He says, “It’s a MUST READ for people considering serving their culture, their city, their community.”

Image © Russell Lee

Life’s big questions Who discovered you could milk a cow, and what did they think they were doing at the time? There are many big questions in life. This isn’t one of them. What is my purpose in life? Is the Bible full of contradictions? Why does God allow suffering? brings together meaty questions and juicy answers. Answers that are thoughtful, biblical and relevant that will help you talk about the gospel in a way that is true, relevant and attractive. There are no pat answers – just great resources written by people who are experts in their field. For answers to these questions and many udders, visit today.

VOX | Jan - Mar 2009 | 9

financial focus A solution not the problem


The decline of the Celtic Tiger, exacerbated by the woes of the global economy and the credit crunch, has seen unemployment rising again in Ireland. Those of us who are actively involved in cross-cultural ministry and integration are bracing ourselves for the xenophobic and anti-immigration sentiments that frequently accompany an economic downturn. It was the last Great Depression that paved the way for National Socialism and the Holocaust in Germany. Compared to many other nations, Ireland has been remarkably tolerant of the large numbers of immigrants coming to our shores in recent times. We have had no race riots and no significant support for far-right politics. This has been partly due to our own history as an emigrant people, but also to an attitude that there are plenty of jobs and wealth to spread around. However, rising unemployment levels in any society cause some to question, ‘Why should all these foreigners come here to take our jobs?’ As someone with pastoral responsibility for many non-nationals, I see both spiritual and practical reasons why anti-immigration or racist sentiments would be intensely damaging for our society. As Christians we have a duty to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. This is when Christ’s teaching about believers being the salt of the earth should make us stop and think. The Bible commands us to show compassion for the foreigner among us. Jesus Christ Himself was taken by His family as an asylum seeker to Egypt. He was finally crucified in a city so cosmopolitan that the inscription above His head had to be written in three languages. Nations that use their wealth and resources to build walls and fences around their borders to frustrate would-be migrants can hardly expect to enjoy God’s blessing. On a practical level, migrants bring many cultural and economic benefits to a nation. Statistically, in any society, immigrants are much more likely to start new businesses and to develop new ideas and technologies than are native-born citizens. Passports were originally invented to keep people from leaving countries, not to prevent them arriving. The passport was a tool to prevent a nation being impoverished by entrepreneurial emigrants who would take their skills and labour to contribute to the prosperity of another society. Irish Christians should recognise that the non-nationals among us are not the cause of the current economic downturn, and neither are they taking ‘our jobs’. Rather they represent one of our best hopes for creating the wealth and innovation that will help Ireland to weather the current global economic crisis. Immigrants are part of the solution, not part of the problem. I hope the same can be said of the Church. Nick Park is the Senior Pastor of the Solid Rock Church in Drogheda and National Overseer for the Church of God in Ireland. Nick is married to Janice and they have a grown up daughter, Kirsty.


As the financial crisis grows, where are Irish people tightening the belt? Through our online VOX POP survey and out on the streets we asked ordinary people for their views. If the credit crunch starts to affect your bank balance, where are you most likely to cut your budget? Entertainment: Holidays: Home improvements: Gifts: Charity giving: 10 | VOX | Jan - Mar 2009

Each symbol represents 5%



Firm Foundations


The world economic crisis has been described as the worst since the 1930s. It is hard to comprehend that in a relatively short period, retirement savings have evaporated, jobs disappeared, and stock market values nose-dived. The whole episode sent panic throughout the world. The near-collapse of world economy is giving many people sleepless nights. Regardless of how we got to this messy situation, the effect is biting deep. Since Brian Cowen became Taoiseach, more than 50,000 people have become unemployed. Small and medium-sized businesses are struggling to keep afloat. It is difficult to avoid the fluctuation of the stock indexes despite the rescue measures being applied by various governments. The markets remain in a state of shock, unable to realise and cope with the consequences of recent events. What does this mean for us? We are living in uncertain times; a time of volatility and restricted cash availability. Many will fall victim to greed and unscrupulous behaviour. The reassuring element is that this is not new. The Bible says, “there is nothing new under the sun.” In this climate, there is a need for individuals to seek God for themselves. David in Psalm 23 said, “Even though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” These times call for a well grounded assurance that regardless of how bad the situation is “I will fear no evil”. It is no time for superficial spiritual obligations. It is a time for thorough soul searching; a time to know beyond reasonable doubt that the God of the universe is the only God – the creator of the universe, the Alpha and Omega. So where is God when all this is happening? Strangely enough, He is still where we left Him when we did not care whether He existed or not. All too often we don’t bother to seek His opinion or approval in our daily pursuits. He is still the same loving and caring God. He is as moved now with our hardship as He was moved by our lack of insight into what we really need – HIM and HIM alone. As the current situation unfolds, it is a great opportunity to give God the priority He deserves in our lives. If we diligently seek Him, He will come to our rescue. It is time to declare that we will fear no evil.

“I will fear no evil”

Dr. Abimbola Afolabi is the President of Oasis of Love Ministries, a teaching ministry. He is also a hospital consultant.

My top five...

Web Highlights from VOX readers News headlines, unbiased articles, TV & Radio shows in two clicks The Bible, every version, quickly find the passage you want Download audio books to your MP3 player, cheap and easy to use Encouraging local stories and events I can attend High quality and thought provoking talks Submitted by Richie Somerville Dubliner, mid twenties, recently married to Rebecca. Engaged in an ongoing discussion…what does it look like to each day seek first God’s kingdom in career, friendships and community?

‚ What are your favourite web sites?

Send them to and we’ll publish one “Top Five” in each issue.

VOX | Jan - Mar 2009 | 11

CHILD SOLDIERS Abducted from their homes and forced into a vicious cycle of cruelty and violence, child soldiers in Uganda have lived through unimaginable horrors. In partnership with other agencies, Irish charity, Zest4Kidz is responding with practical help to rehabilitate these traumatised youngsters.


Alamanya Elizabeth is 14 years old. She lives in a rehabilitation centre in Northern Uganda where she attends school every day and is treated well. She has two sisters and a brother living back home in a village near the border with Sudan. Elizabeth’s face is sad when she talks about her life in “The Bush”. This is how these young children refer to their time as child soldiers fighting in the LRA (the Lord’s Resistance Army). The LRA is a rebel force led by Joseph Kony, who is fighting against the Ugandan government. Over the past two decades, Kony has abducted over 40,000 children. As a direct result, more than 380,000 people have been displaced in Northern Uganda. They live in Internally Displaced Peoples Camps, where conditions are extremely bad. With up to 50,000 people in one camp, diseases such as malaria and diarrhea spread quickly and kill many. 50% are under the age of 13 and the AIDS/HIV rate is 25%. Some people have been able to return home following an 18-month amnesty that reduced rebel activity. But there are still around 4,000 children in the “Bush”. Elizabeth was nine years old when she was abducted. Until then she had been attending school, walking four miles a day to receive an education; proudly and 12 | VOX | Jan - Mar 2009

happily wearing her one school uniform. At 3.00 am one night, she was asleep with her family in their mud hut. She awoke to the sound of screaming and rebels telling them to stand outside. Elizabeth was pulled from her father’s arms. Her father was stabbed for trying to stop the rebel soldiers (mostly youngsters) from taking his lovely children. Her mother screamed, “Please don’t take my children”. One commander was particularly brutal, shouting orders and swinging a machette. Some children were forced to kill younger brothers and sisters who were no use to the LRA. The rebel army wants to shame them for killing their own blood so they can never return home. Elizabeth and her younger brother James, aged eight, were given heavy packs and marched for 12 hours until they were exhausted. Elizabeth was ordered to cook and clean the rebel camp while James was trained in armed combat. He was taught how to shoot to kill so he could lead attacks against the Government. Elizabeth shared one shocking story that has left her badly traumatised. One night one of the commanders decided he wanted to take a young girl to be his “wife” and she was to prepare herself for sex with him. She refused. He then handed Elizabeth a machette and told her to

cut her friend in half. When Elizabeth refused she was badly beaten and was forced to watch as the commander mutilated and killed her friend in front of her. She cried for days and was forced to clean up the bloody spot. For some time, Elizabeth carried around her friend’s smallest finger.


Zest4Kidz is an Irish-based charity set up in 2006 by Stuart and Maggie Wilson. After many years working as volunteers for other organizations, they decided they wanted to make a difference in the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable children. They now work with children in three main areas: the child soldiers in Uganda, child prostitutes in India and the children’s prison system and state orphanages in Eastern Europe, mostly in Georgia and Belarus. Zest4Kidz facilitates regular humanitarian aid trips to these countries so ordinary people can help make a real difference for these children. Organising summer camps and holidays for the youngsters is a real blessing. In each place, Zest4Kidz conducts a full “needs audit” so everyday needs can be funded by the charity. Stuart Wilson shared, “We have just returned from one centre [in Uganda] where we have had a summer camp

bringing fun and joy to the hearts of these amazing former child soldiers . We provided personal development training and staff training, bringing long-term sustainable change. The kids love our visits and we have ongoing pen pal letters going back and forth. We have just put in a new kitchen and solar power as they could not afford electricity.” Stuart explained how the children

are sponsored to stay in the centre and attend school. They are rehabilitated so they can eventually return to their families. Zest4kidz helps fund a counsellor so the families, as well as the former soldiers, can process their trauma. “It is a real joy to see the children we reach come through their trauma. Many decide to be a part of Zest4Kidz teams helping others like themselves,” Stuart

added. To see kids who have been helped go on to help others is a real circle of light. This is the reason for the Zest4Kidz slogan, “Bringing light into little lives”.

Stuart Wilson set up the charity together with his wife, Maggie

Francis was left under a tree to die before he was rescued

“Bringing light into little lives”

‚ For more information on the charity or to

donate to ongoing projects, please see or call 01- 2063872


better, for



On a holiday in Egypt last September, my husband was offered a large sum of camels as a trade off for me. Fortunately he declined, although he received a pinch from yours truly for stopping to listen to the man’s proposal! Marriage laws and customs have changed. In Bible times, Israel was a male-oriented society. Women were largely regarded as property by fathers and husbands alike. The father would take X amount of camels from the husband as payment to seal the deal. Love was not always considered a relevant factor! Similarly, in Irish history fathers would pick a suitable husband for their daughters, using donkeys or sheep as tender. To this day, arranged marriages still happen in many parts of the world, but people from the Western world are predominantly free to choose their own spouses. Parents have less influence over their children’s marital choices. Friendship, courtship and romantic love have become central components in the lead up to marriage.


Logically, this would mean that people 14 | VOX | Jan - Mar 2009

As the first-ever Marriage Week Ireland (9 – 15 February 2009) prepares to celebrate and promote marriage in Irish society, VOX reporter Roberta von Meding explores changing attitudes to wedded bliss. would be happy to enter into marriage knowing it is their own decision. This is not always the case. Given this freedom of choice, it is peculiar that marriage rates in Europe, specifically in Ireland, have dropped considerably in the last decade and divorce rates are on the increase. Under Article 41 of the Irish Constitution, the state encourages people to, ‘guard with special care the institution of marriage, on which the family is founded.’ The position of marriage as the bedrock of the family was further reinforced in 1966 when the Supreme Court interpreted this Article to mean that the family is structurally defined and is based on the institution of marriage.

habitation is no longer frowned upon despite studies that show prior cohabitation raises the risk of subsequent divorce by around 60-85% (Bumpass & Sweet 1995).


It is easier to walk away from a relationship if there is no binding promise made before man, state or God. The terms ‘defacto’ and ‘common-law’ marriage have been coined in recent times. This gives the illusion that couples who have been together for a long time are married in the eyes of the law, without actually being married in the eyes of God. I have been married for almost two years, the most wonderful two years of

“What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.” [Leo Tolstoy] So, what is stopping people from getting married today? The 2006 census shows a definite trend towards cohabitation among Irish young people. Co-

my life. Brought up in a Christian home, my view of marriage was moulded by my parent’s relationship and by my church and the Bible. I was never afraid of mar-

dia plants seeds of fear and confusion in relationships, both consciously and subconsciously.


Every day there is a fresh scandal about

“In my house I’m the boss, my wife is just the decision maker.” [Woody Allen] (and in some cases their unfair share) of storms. However, this taught me not to view marriage as a difficult thing to be feared but rather that there are seasons for everything, both good and bad. At the other side of a bad time, marriages are at their strongest. Chairman of Focus on the Family Ireland Stephen Cardy has always been interested in marriage and the family unit. He describes the influences that he feels may be causing disillusionment amongst Irish people. The media’s portrayal of marriage in soap operas, films and celebrity media coverage hinders people committing to each other. In Stephen’s opinion, the me-

the glitterati. Who is getting married, who is cheating, who is sleeping around and who is getting divorced? Reading these stories makes me understand why people would want to stay clear of such a seemingly unstable institution. God has designed marriage to be a representation of the love that He has for His people while they are on earth. Companionship, love and respect are central to our relationships with each other, our spouses and with God. The storms that come are not designed to separate marriages but rather to produce character and add more defined contours to the relationship. Stephen Cardy emphasises the need

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” [Ecclesiastes 4: 9 – 12 NIV]

WIN a DVD! We have five DVDs of “21st Century Marriage” with Rob Parsons to give away, courtesy of Focus on the Family Ireland. It is an eight-session, DVD-based course, ideal for individuals or groups. To enter, simply send the correct answer to the question below to or write to: Solas Publishing, 22-24 Foley St. Ulysses House, Dublin 1, giving your name and address. The closing date for entries is 27 February.

for a fresh public portrayal of marriage to combat misinformation that people have received from the media and other unreliable sources. Various events to promote and support marriage and family life will be run by different organisations during Marriage Week Ireland (9 – 15 February 2009). One of the primary goals will be to re-educate people’s perceptions of marriage. The first of its kind in Ireland, this week will highlight the benefits of a healthy marriage to society, while educating and informing couples about the God given gift of marriage. It will give couples the opportunity and the encouragement to focus on their relationship. “To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith.” ‚ For more details about Marriage Week

Ireland contact: Stephen Cardy, or see www. Roberta von Meding graduated in 2007 from IADT and now works as an Advertising Executive for a trade publication. She lives in Greystones with her husband Joey.

VOX took to the streets again to check out what Irish people think about marriage. For better or worse? Should married couples stay together? Yes, a promise is a promise:


riage because I knew God designed it to be a gift from Him (1Cor 7v7). I saw the love my mum and dad had for each other and the mutual respect, friendship and happiness they shared. They also weathered their fair share

No, if the love is gone it is better to split up:

Yes, if you work at it, marriage can get better over the years:

No, I don’t believe in marriage:

Yes, for the sake of any children:

When does Marriage Week Ireland take place? Each symbol represents 5%

VOX | Jan - Mar 2009 | 15


The Leprosy Mission Ireland Suite 14, The Cubes Offices Beacon South Quarter Sandyford Dublin 18

HEALED WITH COMPASSION Leprosy Today While leprosy has been eradicated for many years in Ireland, today children, women and men living in regions of intense poverty, are facing the atrocious stigma and physical pains of leprosy. Leprosy is not a curse, but a bacterium from the same family as tuberculosis. The disease affects the cool regions of the body: feet, hands, nose, eyes and attacks the nervous system, numbing the nerves. Leprosy patients lose their feeling of pain and often pick up a hot kettle or walk on sharp stones without feeling a thing. But the body still reacts. Untreated wounds grow worse, often leading to amputation. But there is hope. In 1982 the cure of multi-drug therapy was developed and today leprosy patients can be completely cured of the disease. There is no need for anyone to live with the disabilities caused by leprosy. Yet thousands of people who have leprosy do not know there is help. They live with the painful stigma – just like the man who came to Jesus. The Leprosy Mission Ireland Today For more than 135 years, the Leprosy Mission Ireland has been dedicated to bringing the truth of the disease and more importantly the cure and ongoing care to leprosy patients worldwide. Our mandate has not changed. We are servants of a living God bringing the Good News through our compassionate medical care to men and women who have never heard of God’s grace and love.

16 | VOX | Jan - Mar 2009

The Leprosy Mission has become one of the foremost experts in discovery, treatment, cure and care. We have accomplished so much: discovering unique surgeries that help those affected by leprosy regain the use of their hands feet and eyes. We have built hospitals in regions most affected by leprosy, treating patients at no cost, offering them hope they never imagined. Our commitment to holistic healing brings us to the communities affected by leprosy where we work together with them, educating them on the truth of the disease, and explaining the importance of seeking medical help as soon as possible. We help transform communities by investing in change. By offering the essentials of clean water and proper sanitation, we help reduce the transfer of the bacteria, protecting innocent children and young people from the disease. Living with the effects of leprosy is extremely difficult. We have developed significant vocational programs helping leprosy patients, discover their own true giftedness which in turn helps them contribute back to the community. These accomplishments have been guided by God’s grace and wisdom and have been funded by our faithful supporters, the men and women dedicated to restoring the lives of so many in need of healing. Patron: Mary McAleese, President of Ireland Established in Ireland in 1874

Despised and rejected Dr. Robbins chose to dedicate his life to caring for leprosy patients in the rural villages of India. One day as he was driving home, he noticed an unusual heap on top of rotting trash. The heap was the body of a young man by the name of Calion. Sadly this was not the first time Dr Robbins found the young man left at the side of the road, beaten because he had leprosy.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows,” Isaiah 53:3

After, Calion received the cure, Dr. Robbins travelled to Calion’s community to share with them how Calion was cured and the truth of leprosy. But as he cared for Calion a second time he recognized that the stigma was etched much too deeply into the traditions of the community. He asked Calion what he would like to do. “I have dreamed of herding goats,” he told his doctor. The Leprosy Mission worked with Calion and helped him purchase his first goat with a small business loan. Today he owns a small, successful business. Each cent he earns is carefully counted and he only uses what he needs. The rest of his income is placed in a shoe box in the hospital. He’s asked Dr. Robbins to use the money to cure and care for someone who has leprosy.

JOIN WITH US Please visit our website at or call 1890 50 51 52 to give a gift today or to participate in World Leprosy Day – this international event takes place on the last Sunday in January and involves churches around the world taking a moment to pray for and support those suffering with leprosy. VOX | Jan - Mar 2009 | 17


Born to Dance Born in the Philippines, dancer Donking Rongavilla came to Ireland in 2002. He represented Ireland in the World Hip Hop Championships in Los Angeles after winning the All Ireland Hip Hop Dance Competition in 2006 and 2007. Last autumn, he faced a new challenge, starring in the RTÉ Why do you love dancing? To be honest, I am good at it! I started to dance when I was 10 years old – I taught myself hip hop on the streets of the Philippines. When I was 15, I auditioned for a TV company. They accepted me and I got to train in a proper studio and met professionals. By 16, I was creating my own choreography. I have met so many people through dance and I can inspire them. What brought you to Ireland? My mum and I were hired to work at a chocolate factory in Newbridge, Co Kildare. My job was as janitor, cleaning, because I had no experience. I was 20 years old and I had no idea what Ireland was like. My first impression was, “Oh, it is beautiful. …So green, fresh air and sheep”!

18 | VOX | Jan - Mar 2009

One show “Ballet Chancers” – a reality TV show aiming to train six hip hop enthusiasts as ballet dancers. VOX editor Ruth Garvey-Williams snatched a few minutes with Donking between filming to chat about dancing, dreams and faith.

How did you come to represent Ireland in the World Hip Hop Championships? People recognised my talent. I am a foreigner but it is not all about that. At US immigration someone asked me, “You are not Irish, why are you representing Ireland?” Ireland is not into ‘race’; they are into gifts and talents. They chose me because they liked my style!

[ballerina and ballet teacher] was very strict. In a way, she had to be. It was reality TV - it wasn’t acting! I preferred the hard training because I learned a lot. Ballet is a totally different world. We had to wear tights. It was totally… I don’t know how to say this... it was awful!!! I am not into ballet, I think it is boring, but I know it will benefit me because I developed stamina, flexibility and musicality.

What was it like starring in RTÉ One’s “Ballet Chancers”? I had to give up my job [at the chocolate factory], although I am still teaching dance in Newbridge and Swords. It was difficult. We trained three hours a day, four days a week. Monica Loughman

You have so many opportunities for your own dance career, why are you still teaching? Teaching is sharing your whole life. You can motivate people. Even though you only know them for one hour a week, they listen to what you say. They will re-

“Teaching is sharing your whole life. You can motivate people.”

member it. Last year, I was teaching hip hop in a school for the deaf. In spite of their deafness, they can do it! I have my own dance group called “The FreeStylers” at my church (Open Arms Christian Fellowship in Newbridge, Co Kildare). It takes a lot of time. I have trained them for four years. They are serving God doing what they want, not what other people want them to do. I thank God for giving me that opportunity. So where does God come into the picture? When I was 16 years old I was hanging out with friends, drinking and going to parties. It became a routine. Every Friday we used to go out drinking. Finally I got fed up with it. As a kid, my mum used to bring me to church and I used to be a choir boy. Then one time, someone invited me to come to a church. It seemed different. That was the time I renewed my commitment to God. For three years I quit my professional dancing career and worked in my church as a youth leader. I was always dancing but I wasn’t doing it for myself anymore. Jesus saved my life. I am not worthy but He loves me. He gave me

this talent. My dancing is for Him. He is Lord of the dance! What is your dream? I want to be recognised as one of the best choreographers in the world because I want to make God famous. If I go to the top it is because God is always by my side. I believe that it takes one person to make a difference.

“ I was always dancing but I wasn’t doing it for myself anymore.”

Where do the ARTS fit into the church? I always believe the arts were created by God. For me, the arts are already there in the church through singing, playing instruments, and even the architecture. Putting art into the church is not difficult as long as we use it to glorify God. For me using the Arts in the church is one way to connect with people or to welcome people.

Many artists see a conflict between their talent and their Christian faith. How would you answer them? We have to understand there’s always a choice. I have to admit I’m struggling with these issues but I have to make a decision about what I want to do. It’s the heart of an artist that matters. Does he/ she want to use his/her abilities for God or for themselves? I know people laugh at me already when they find out I’m using my talent for God. They think I’m crazy. Talented artists who read this may find it confusing, maybe because you haven’t decided what you really want. Just take your time. Don’t let other people decide for you. Serving God through your talent is not a job or punishment; it’s a privilege. Based in beautiful Donegal, Ruth is a journalist who works full time with OM Ireland along with her husband, Andrew. She was delighted to join the VOX team as Editor.

Photo: Kyran O’Brien/KOBPIX

The Ballet Chancers together with teacher Monica Loughman

VOX | Jan - Mar 2009 | 19

VOX:SPORTS Community Sports in the


In VOX magazine’s ‘kickoff’ edition I want to share a story from the “Upward Leagues” – an Irish sports programme with the slogan ‘every child is a winner’! ‘Upward’ serves children and their families through basketball and football leagues hosted by volunteers from churches in local communities. The programme aims to build self-esteem and confidence using scripture verses and Christian principles. Committed coaches provide sports training as well as a seven minute ‘coaches time’ each week. Children also receive ‘stars’

and applause from parents and teamates for sportsmanship, effort, defence, offence and most Christ-like attitudes after each match. There are visible changes in children’s attitudes and confidence as they participate. Two girls first met at the “Upward” league and quickly became firm friends. The players loved their ‘coaches times’ so much that they went home and asked their parents about God. The parents did their best but found they could not answer all the questions. One day the girls asked their coach to visit. After 10 minutes the girls were satisfied and went outside to play. Three hours and many cups of tea later, the parents were still asking questions. Both mothers attended an Alpha course to find out more about God. One woman eventually came to realise the relevance of Jesus for her life. She asked God to forgive her past and began a new journey of faith with the support of friends. The girls meanwhile remain best friends and continue to participate in the basketball and football Upward Leagues in their community! VOX:SPORT is written by Daniel Tabb. Born in the United States, Daniel moved to Dublin in January 2002. He is the founder and director of “Sports Across Ireland”.

20 | VOX | Jan - Mar 2009

Loving God with all your mind?


Failing to engage in such thinking means Christians leave themselves open to criticism

If a survey was carried out to discover the most popular symbol associated with love, the majority response would almost certainly be a heart. It is relatively easy to understand the Old Testament command to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deut. 6:4). Love conveys images of warmth, passion and, to some extent, the irrational. To speak then of “loving God with all your mind,” (the part of our being dealing with rationality and cold hard facts) seems almost a contradiction in terms. Jesus thought differently! When He quoted Deut: 6:4 He added a fourth noun – the mind (see Mark 12: 30 and Matt. 22: 37). Hebrew people considered the ‘heart’ to be the centre of the affections but often included ‘thinking’ in their understanding


of the word. Jesus wanted His hearers to be in no doubt about this and so explicitly refers to loving God with your mind. This prompts two questions: what does it mean and how do we do it? The answers lie in getting to grips with the Bible, the record of God’s thoughts to us. At a recent seminar in the Irish Bible Institute, Craig Blomberg, a New Testament scholar from Denver Seminary, reminded his audience of the high value placed on God’s Word in Jewish tradition and early Christianity. He cited examples of how Jewish teachers had to memorise the Torah before earning the right to discuss any issue and of the preservation of Scriptures by Irish monks. In a reaction against duty-prompted Bible reading habits, has the pendulum today swung too far from disciplined engagement with the Bible? Anecdotal evidence suggests a decreasing familiarity with the scriptures even among committed Christians. In an age of what both the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and journalist John Waters (Irish Times 4 November 2008), describe as increasing biblical illiteracy, Christians are presented with the challenge of applying God’s words to contemporary life. To do so, we must know what the Bible says, think deeply about its meaning, and understand the culture in which we live. Failing to engage in such thinking means Christians leave themselves open to criticism from people like Dawkins who label us as people without any reasons or evidence for the hope and faith we profess. More importantly it means we are ignoring an essential part of Jesus’ message. Obeying Jesus is always challenging, but perhaps a response to His command should begin with a commitment to regular reading and re-reading of His Word, and to thoughtful application of it to our daily lives. After studying for an MA at the Irish Bible Institute (IBI), Ruth Burns is now volunteering at IBI two days a week. She is facilitating research and supporting the MA programme.

Yes, this spot is for sale! Advertising your event or business in VOX makes sense! See for rates or Email Colour advertisements start at just €80! (Yes, that’s a good deal.) The deadline for the next issue is 2 March 2009.

VOX | Jan - Mar 2009 | 21

VOX:GAEILGE Teanga Ár gCroí ’Séard is brí leis an bhfocal Vox sa Laidin ná Guth. Feictear sa stampa thuas, léiriú de “Vox Hiberniae” – guth na nÉireannach agus a scéal dá scaipeadh ó Chaiseal na Rí go háiteanna ar fud an domhain. ’Sí guth na nÉireannach ná teanga dúchais ár sinsear, teanga ársa na Gaeilge lena háilleacht, spiorad agus brí faoi leith dóibh siúd a bhí, agus atá, compordach í a labhairt. Nuair a smaoinímid ar chiníocha uilig an domhain agus an méid teangacha a labhraítear gach lá, tá sé deacair a thiscint gur tháinig focail Dé chuig na ciníocha ina dteanga dhúchais, nó a dteanga chroí. Ar Lá na Cincíse féin thug an Spiorad Naomh cumhacht do na hAspail labhairt in iliomad teangacha. Ó shin i leith tá Dia féin ag cur lena eaglais ar fud an domhan fad is go bhfuil daoine ag éisteacht agus ag tabhairt freagra ar an

soiscéal atá dá scríobh agus dá spreagadh ina dteanga dhúchais. Tá an t-ádh linne anseo in Éirinn go bhfuil teacht ar an mBíobla againn i dteanga ár gcroí, ’sé sin an teanga is gaire dár dtógaint, an teanga a labhair ár sinsir sna glúinte a chuaigh romhainn. Sa lá atá inniu ann tá boradh ag teacht ar ár dteanga agus ar ár gcultúr ach go háirithe i measc daoine óga. Deir Eoin 6: 63 linn gur “spiorad atá i bfocail

Dé”. Gach seans, sa todhchaí go rachadh spiorad na bhfocal sin i bhfeidhm ar spiorad ár gcultúr agus ár dteanga ionas go mbeadh Éire i réim arís mar náisiún, ní hamháin le léinn, ach le naoimh agus sinn ag fás i bhféin-mhuinín agus i gcreideamh. Mar fhocal scoir, ba mhaith linn go mbeadh roinnt alt Ghaeilge san áireamh san iris seo. Más spéis libh cuidiú linn san iarracht seo, téigí i dteagmháil linn le bhur dtoil. Go maire focail Dé i do chroí ionas go mbeifeá críonna (Col 3: 16). Cormac Mac Fhionnlaoich ‚ Your Irish a bit rusty?

See for the English translation.

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WORLDWATCH a closer look

God is dead! Or so wrote the philosopher Nietzsche towards the end of the nineteenth century. The twentieth century agreed. Even before World War II, thinkers like Sartre and Camus were describing the God-less, absurd universe in which man must struggle meaninglessly, die, then rot back to nothing. The Holocaust vindicated this worldview. Then some 40 years ago came ‘Death of God’ theology, popularising not so much atheism (‘there never was a God’) as the belief that God did exist once, but now is no more. Sartre, Camus & company saw no God, therefore became overwhelmed with human futility, and were sincere insofar as they tried to redress it. The Death of God may be a problem, but it is also a convenience – no God, no accountability. We can all behave as we please. And why not? Nothing else to do, no other way to fill our souls’ void, no price to pay. Such is the zeitgeist ruling our world today. Nor is the Church immune to it. We believe in God, yes, but not necessarily with our whole heart. We expect him to look after us, but we don’t look after the poor, the sick, the incarcerated – his brothers! (Matthew 25:40). We are perhaps much less honest, pure, or careful with our tongues than we should be. We prefer our ‘field’ or ‘business’ to the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 22:5). Peter had no doubt: Jesus was ‘the Son of the living God’ to the point, tradition maintains, where he accepted martyrdom. The question is: when 99.99% of those around us live as though God is dead, how does the Church return to, rediscover, and revitalise itself in the immortal God? Long, hard, earnest searching is needed. There is no quick, easy answer. Mark Edmund Hutcheson is a poet and teacher.


Where do you find it hardest to live and speak for Jesus?


Take part in the next poll: Soap operas usually attract higher TV viewing figures than any other programme. We wanted to find out… do VOX readers watch soaps and, if so, which ones? Take the VOX readers’ poll online at VOX | Jan - Mar 2009 | 23

Focus on the Family is here for you and your family. At Focus on the Family, we’re committed to helping families thrive. You can count on us for uplifting articles, helpful marriage and parenting programmes, quality parenting and marriage events, resources that address a breadth of family concerns, and practical answers to your specific questions. If you’re looking for tools to help you raise great kids, ideas to improve your marriage, inspiration for yourself or assistance for someone you know, we are here for you! Call us on 01 806 6288 or visit our NEW website and online resource shop at - we would love to see you there!        

Focus on the Family Ireland Unit 11 The Plaza Main Street Blanchardstown Dublin 15 T: 01 806 6288 E: W: 24 | VOX | Jan. - March 2009


COMING SOON… Movies shape our society, influencing values and opinions. VOX brings you a sneak look ahead at some of the biggest movies coming to Ireland’s cinema screens during 2009. (Note: all release dates subject to change).


Featuring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, Bride Wars is the implausible tale of best friends who become rivals when they schedule their weddings on the same day.

February FANBOYS

This comedy sees a group of Star Wars fanatics attempting to steal an early print of The Phantom Menace for their dying friend.



When an ex-superhero is murdered, a washed-up vigilante named Rorshach begins an investigation into the murder and uncovers a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes.



Lawrence Talbot, a haunted nobleman, is lured back to his family estate after his brother vanishes. Reunited with his estranged father, Talbot sets out to find his brother and discovers a horrifying destiny for himself in this dark and disturbing remake.



In the wake of the Da Vinci Code, Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor star in another Dan Brown adaptation based in Vatican City.



Vin Diesel and Paul Walker reteam for high-speed chases and exploding gas tanks in the fourth chapter of the action-thriller







The sixth film in the boy wizard series adapted from JK Rowling’s books sees Harry Potter taking private lessons with headmaster Dumbledore in an effort to learn how to defeat the dark wizard Voldemort.

The Taking of Pelham 123 is a remake of a 1978 Walter Matthau thriller. Denzel Washington plays a transport cop who battles tube train hijackers led by John Travolta.

Matt Damon and Scott Bakula star in a black comedy/ thriller based on a true story about the ostensibly dull world of price



An adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s story, where Max, a disobedient little boy sent to bed without his supper, creates his own world - a forest inhabited by ferocious wild creatures that crown Max as their ruler.


Saoirse Ronan narrates from beyond the grave in this adaptation of Alice Sebold’s best-selling novel directed by Peter Jackson. A young girl, who was brutally raped and murdered, watches from heaven as her family struggles to come to terms with her death.

r AVATAR Decembe

Starring Sigourney Weaver, Avatar is set to be one of the biggest movies of 2009. A group of humans travel to a distant planet to exploit its natural resources and find themselves in a battle for survival against the indigenous race.

VOX | Jan - Mar 2009 | 25


The ‘Second Reformation’ and the Polarization of Protestant – Catholic Relations, 1800-1840 by Irene Whelan Published by Lilliput Press, Dublin Irene Whelan explores a formative, tragic and definitive period in Irish history with scholarly precision. The author examines how the religious enthusiasm associated with the international awakening of the eighteenth century took root and flourished in Ireland. She explores how this movement affected relations between Protestants and Catholics during a period in which existing political establishments throughout Europe were challenged, and in some cases overturned, by the rise of democratic nationalism and the demand for representative government. Whelan gives a balanced account of a turbulent and somewhat complex period in Irish history. All who are interested in reconciliation and dialogue will discover much useful data between the covers of this book. It is thoroughly researched, well written and succeeds in opening a window into a formative period in the social, religious and political story of Ireland. For contemporary Irish Christians it is a useful resource for all who desire to look into our past in order to anticipate what issues might arise as we are swept into an inviting future whose shape is far from clear. Reviewed by Robert Dunlop, a retired minister who was pastor of Brannockstown Baptist Church in Co Kildare for more than forty years and editor of Evangelicals in Ireland – an Introduction, published by Columba Press in 2004.

IRRESISTIBLE REVOLUTION by Shane Claiborne “Welcome to the irresistible revolution; a new and ancient way of life that is so attractive, who would settle for anything else? The revolution begins inside each of us and, through little acts of love, it will take over the world,” writes Shane Claiborne. If you are content with your life and comfortable with conventional Christianity then this book could prove profoundly disturbing. But if you long for something more, for the chance to bring life and hope in a broken world, then read on. Shane began his journey in Bible-belt America with its Christian camps, Christian music and Christian culture or as he describes it, “an overconsumptive but malnourished spirituality, suffocated by Christianity but thirsty for God”. His awakening began in Philadelphia, when some homeless families took up residence in a derelict cathedral. The church authorities responded with aggression, giving the families 48

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hours notice to leave or face arrest. A banner outside the cathedral read; “How can we worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one on Monday?” Shane and his friends were horrified and worked with the homeless people to see justice done. This started his search to grasp what it means to follow Jesus. This excellent book explores what it would mean if following Christ affected every area of our lives. Reading The Irresistible Revolution, it is tempting to write Shane off as an angry liberal. Unfortunately, he actually lives the Jesus so many just spit out cute phrases about. Reviewed by Reuben Coulter, Chief Executive of Tearfund Ireland, a Christian relief agency working with a global network of local churches to help transform the lives of the most vulnerable women and children worldwide. (


Certificate: 15A Out now on DVD Vox Stars:

As the title suggests, The Dark Knight represents the epitome of darkness and as such is definitely not one for the kids. Through the apt black-andblue bruise-like shadows, violence, vigilantism and graphic torture scenes permeate the film, in the most gripping of the recent Batman films. The success of Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece lies in the transformation of the original hyperbolic comic book tale into a story based in the real and fallen world. Bad things do happen to good people and this is a reality. The second in the series, The Dark Knight is considerably darker than its predecessor (Batman Begins) and the lines between good and evil are significantly blurred. The protagonist is far from a Christ-like saviour, as portrayed in the early comic books. The new Batman appears to have human flaws; he doesn’t succeed in saving each of the Joker’s victims from death nor does he restrain himself from sharing an intimate kiss with his best friend’s girlfriend. Hardly superhero material! Batman’s new sporadically immoral persona and questionable justice system actually bear a small resemblance to the real villain of the story – The Joker. Played by the late Heath Ledger, The Joker is, without a doubt, one of the most psychotic, sinister and arguably comic villains in recent film history. He is the personification of the proverbial villain; ugly and scarred, callous, malevolent and full of hate for people. Continually unnerving the audience, Ledger’s twitching Joker creates potent anarchy and chaos. Ledger undoubtedly steals the show with his adaptation of this character. After a tempestuous whirlwind of events Gotham settles and temporary peace returns to the city. There is a lingering feeling that this could just be the eye of the storm. A sequel is inevitably on the cards, only this time the cards are not The Joker’s. Reviewed by Roberta von Meding

Are you bursting to tell people about a new book, album or movie? The VOX team is always on the look out for people willing to pen reviews. If you’re interested, get in touch today! VOX | Jan - Mar 2009 | 27

Online Bible Study Books and Teaching Videos! You can now access Bible Study and Teaching books by Prof David Gooding and Prof John Lennox on the World Wide Web. The entire text of eight important Bible Study and apologetic books is available to read on screen or for free download. Selected books are also available in Chinese, Malay and Vietnamese. Key Bible Concepts in Chinese is available as an online audiobook. Bible teaching and apologetic material by John Lennox on web based video is at: and by John and Gilbert Lennox at: David Gooding, M.A. Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of Old Testament Greek at Queenʼs University, Belfast, and is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. His books of Bible teaching have been published in many languages including Russian, Ukrainian, Chinese, Polish, Georgian, Bulgarian, Czech, Romanian, Hungarian, Vietnamese, Malay, German, Spanish and English. He travels extensively in a Bible teaching ministry. John Lennox M.A., M.A.(Bioethics), Ph.D., D.Phil, D.Sc., is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science, and Pastoral Advisor at Green Templeton College. He was born in Armagh and was Exhibitioner and Senior Scholar at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he attended the last lectures of C.S. Lewis.

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28 | VOX | Jan - Mar 2009

Christ Exalted Banagher Church of Ireland Banagher Co. Offaly Sunday, 25 January 7pm

Cork Douglas Community School, Douglas Co. Cork Saturday, 31 January 7pm

YOUR MOVE St Marks Family Worship Centre Dublin 2 Sunday, 15 February 6pm

DV8 Naas Cinema Co. Kildare DV8 event Saturday, 7 March 8pm

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Events Calendar


What’s happening, where and when?

Wedding Singer, Sarah Brady, Navan. Will sing at all denomination churches, registry offices, etc. 086 382 7505 Christian Receptionist Wanted Christian Medical Practice requires full or part-time receptionist. Applicant must be flexible, a good communicator with computer skills and happy to work in busy environment. Join a strong team of 7 committed Christians in a thriving general practice. Contact: Practice Manager. Cornerstone Medical Practice, 19 Fair Street, Drogheda, Co. Louth. Tel: 041-9843467 Got a Classified? It costs just €1 per word! Send your text to the address on page 2 or Next deadline is 2 March.



Dream 2009 13-17 April, Castlebar. Visit: (See ad page 13)

Short Term Sunday 25 January, Sunday at 10.30am in Dun Laoghaire Evangelical Church (See ad opposite) Christ Exalted 25 January, Sunday at 7pm in Banagher Church of Ireland, Banagher Co. Offaly (See ad opposite) Your Move 31 January, Saturday at 7pm in Douglas Community School, Douglas, Co. Cork (See ad opposite)


Overcomers Conference 2009 Oasis of Love Ministries presents Overcomers Conference 2009, 16th May. Contact 087 6206435 or 087 9097563 or



Urban Soul 2009 7-10 July, Dublin. (See ad page 13) Visit:

Your Move 15 February, Sunday at 6pm in St Marks Family Worship Centre, Dublin 2 (See ad opposite)

New Wine Ireland 12-17 July, Sligo Summer Conference. Visit: (See ad page 2)


Your Move 7 March, Saturday at 8pm in Naas Cinema, Co. Kildare (DV8 event) (See ad opposite)


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VOX:P.S. Sustainable living? Sustainable living? “Isn’t it really all about fear and greed?” My economist friend looked at me with a wry smile. “Well I wouldn’t use those words but…” It was during the time when daily lessons were being delivered on how the world’s financial systems operate. A slow learner, I was trying to work out what was the root of it all. Economists’ reticence notwithstanding, it did seem to me that those basics drives were right at the centre of the crisis. Greed – avarice – voracity – ravenousness! Fear – terror – dread – trepidation – panic! What a graphic set of words we have to describe these two basic human instincts. Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t an economist but he knew a thing or two about economics whether of the first century or the twenty-first century. “Listen,” he said, “You need to protect yourself against greed. If you’re looking for life in how much you own you’re looking in the wrong place.” A minute later he was tackling fear. “Don’t panic,” he told his apprentices. “Sell what you have. Give to the poor. And provide a pension for yourself that has long-term security.” Imagine that advice being yelled out on Wall Street! Sustainable living involves finding a way of living that will preserve our world for future generations. Two of the biggest issues in developing a sustainable way of living are world



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Seán Mullan is from Cork and lives in Dublin. Despite being head hunted by the World Economic Forum he is still in Ireland helping with leadership at Dublin West Community Church and Evangelical Alliance Ireland.

VOX POP – voice of the people

We’re looking for people willing to volunteer their skills in areas like:


economic uncertainty and global climate change. How would the removal of fear and greed change those two areas? Consuming less, we might leave more resources for future generations and reduce pollution. Voluntarily limiting corporate profits might prevent banks and companies from driving themselves into bankruptcy. Freedom not to act from fear might provide more stable markets, less impulsive decision-making and more thought about long term consequences. “Impractical idealism,” I can hear the economists saying. “People would never buy it.” “Market demands dictate.” “Economic realities… etc. etc.” But how many are needed to start change? Just a few. Just a few who trust the messenger enough to believe his words and begin to live as though it were true. That’s how all the best revolutions start. With just a few who believe. A revolution of greedlessness and fearlessness. Who wants to live like that?

We need help to carry out our VOX POP surveys online and on the streets. Find out what ordinary people in Ireland think of key issues by sharing the VOX POP URL with friends or colleagues or hit the streets to ask our survey questions. This is a great way for your youth group, small group or church to interact with your local community. Interested? Write to us at with VOX POP in the subject line or phone Ruth on 087 795 5401. VOX POP survey results will be published in every edition of VOX magazine.

Theology Biblical Studies Pastoral Ministry Church History Spiritual Formation Mission Ethics Leadership

Equipping the whole person head, heart and hands

"Open my eyes that I may see w o n d e r f u l t h i n g s i n y o u r l a w" P s a l m 119 :18

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VOX Issue 1  

VOX is a quarterly magazine, looking at what's happening in Ireland and the world today and wondering where God fits in.