Author: Michael J Tinker

“I have called you by name…”

But now, this is what the Lord says—    he who created you, Jacob,    he who formed you, Israel:“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.2 When you pass through the waters,    I will be with you;and when you pass through the rivers,    they will not sweep over you.Isaiah 43:1-2 On Friday 8th October 2021 my Dad received news […]

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Ask me about my Dad…

I know how awkward it can feel when someone has lost a loved one. How do you talk to them? Should your conversation only be somber? Should you even talk about ‘normal’ things? Will that just upset them? Or will it upset them to talk about what has just happened and how they’re feeling? I […]

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Reflections – signs things aren’t right

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. Actually, it’s now years of reflecting. This autumn it will be 3 years since we left the Crowded House. In some ways it feels like a lifetime. In others it feels like yesterday. Over those years a lot has happened. Reviews have been commissioned and published – not […]

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It may be too good to be understood…

There’s a verse in Andrew Peterson’s ‘The Dark Before the Dawn‘ that gets me every time: I had a dream that I was waking At the burning edge of dawn And I could finally believe The king had loved me all along Over the last year I’ve realised that this has been a struggle for […]

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Singing ‘bout my Generation

Returning with full hearts and minds from this year’s cracking Growing Young Disciples Conference we wanted to share some songs that we hope will help disciple Generation Z… (You can listen on our Spotify playlist)  God’s Kingdom Is Here (Michael and the Topsy Turvy Kingdom) Each morning we were blessed by Sam Gibb taking us […]

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Standing when all you want to do is rest

Over the past year there have been increasing stories of abuse and bullying in the evangelical church in the UK. It’s not confined to the more public cases in the CofE, but is also found in the independent church. The church is often described as a hospital, after all, Jesus came for those who are sick. But sadly we’re seeing people leaving local churches and denominations more damaged and broken than when they went in. Perhaps some reading know this all too well. That is not how it should be. 

At times it can feel overwhelming. When we’ve finally broken free of an abusive relationship the sense of relief is palpable. It’s like emerging from a dank tunnel, sucking clean air deep into our lungs after almost suffocating. Sometimes you can be in those relationships for so long that you’ve forgotten that there is any other reality. Slowly but surely hope begins to be restored. You finally get to a small taste of that sweet ‘rest’ that seemed so elusive before.

But then in one of those moments of peace a thought comes to you. It whispers – ‘remember those who still suffer’. 

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Interview – the one where I discuss using songs to disciple kids in the nitty gritty of life…

This is less a blog post, and more a link to a discussion I had on the Faith In Kids (or Faith In Parents) podcast. James Cary and Ed Drew are hosting and we get chatting about how songs can powerfully impact children and help disciple them through the tough times of life. A couple […]

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In the House of Tom Bombadil – an unexpected blessing

The time comes in life when one thinks ‘now is the time to read Lord of the Rings, cover to cover’. You find that comfy armchair, brew a pot of leaf tea, light the fire and settle down with Part I, ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’. 

All is going well. You’re surprised at how old Frodo is when he starts his journey, but there’s adventure, danger, 2nd breakfast, laughter and intrigue. 

Then there’s Tom Bombadil.

I can’t be the only one who’s been stopped in his tracks by the bouncy, yellow-booted singer of odd songs. In fact I know that I am not. When the BBC produced their audio adaptation they cut him out, as did Peter Jackson. You could imagine that if this book were written today the editor would be sitting down with the author saying ‘John – this Tom Bombadil stuff? It just ruins the pace. Let’s skip to the Prancing Pony and leave Tom to his faldi-diddlying’.

Last night, however, I decided to brave this section once more. I was determined to find meaning here, to discover the purpose of such an enigmatic and seemingly slow movement.

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The book of Revelation and valuing airport fiction

For the second time in a matter of weeks I was asked the same dreaded question – ‘What are you reading at the moment?’ The first time I was asked was in the context of an interview and the second was by a friend. Both times I inwardly squirmed.

As the question left my interlocutor’s lips, flitting across the cinema screen of my mind were great tomes by masters like Lewis and Macdondald. I could see the pile of theology books I’ve been meaning to read for so long. I thought of my wife who devours thick books in a matter of hours. 

I wanted the ground to swallow me up. For what was my answer? Jack Reacher. Yes – the books that led to the Tom Cruise films (though why they cast him to play the 6’5” Reacher I have no idea). Affectionately known by some as airport fiction, or as the French say – romans de gare. The light reading that you can indulge in while sitting on a beach. 

You see, I’m not a great reader. I can’t read nearly as fast as my wife and I feel quite embarrassed when surrounded by folk who seem to feast on the classics for breakfast. Don’t get me wrong – I do enjoy reading, I just don’t do a lot of it. I should add that I don’t think my questioners thought less of me for not reading so widely, but I silently groan at my lack of it.

However it has got me thinking. What is it about such pop-fiction that holds this attraction (and embarrassment on my part)? Are they really the literary equivalent of a Happy Meal? Or is there something more to them?

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thoughtful boy in casual wear

Discipling through song in the nitty gritty of life

Our eldest is 10 years old and worrying… again. She worries about almost everything. But this time she’s worrying about sin. She’s realising that she’s a sinner and wants to uncover every last bit of her sin. She remembers moments from yesterday, last week, even last year when she stuffed up and feels the guilt. Her mum patiently sits, listening, speaking, comforting, praying.

Then there’s a pitter-patter of feet. Our 5 year old gently sidles up to his mum and whispers a line from one of my songs (and the Bible!) in her ear, “say – as far as the east is from the west…”

I’m a songwriter, and more latterly I’ve been focussing on writing songs for children (and adults who are listening in). It’s been an interesting journey getting to this point and my belief in the power of song to speak and embed truth in children has only grown.

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