Archive for the Uncategorized Category


Posted in Uncategorized on August 18, 2009 by Phil Alcorn

This will be a short post. I have much to say, about Bosnia and what God told me there. But for now, I just wanted to share this.

I met Davie today. Davie, of Davie and Cliff. I never ever knew Cliff as a part of Davie and Cliff, I just knew him as Cliff. I knew he had once had a friend called Davie, who was now gone, for various reasons. I knew about Davie, I was told about him, who he was and what he was like. I was told about the friendship he and Cliff shared. But Davie disappeared for a while. A long while. But I met him today. Really randomly… God was involved.

We talked for a while. He told me about himself. We talked about Cliff. And as I went to leave, he stopped me. He pulled me back to him, and took my hand. And he told me he wanted to pray with me. And he did so.

I didn’t just meet Davie today. I met Jesus too.

My friend…

Posted in Uncategorized on June 16, 2009 by Phil Alcorn

Cliff… I want to write so much more about him than this blog would ever afford me. I want to write, because I never want to forget… never. I never want to forget the lessons I learned from this wee Belfast man… the lessons about love, about hope, about struggle and addiction and humility and friendship and fellowship and joy and sadness and life…

And I don’t want to have to explain who Cliff is… I don’t want to have to give a background, name the date and place and circumstances in which we met. Because, to be honest, most of the few people who read this blog knew and loved him, and  no words that I can say about my relationship with him can or indeed should change who he was to you.

And I miss him. I really do. I miss seeing his toothy smile as he laughed with friends… I miss listening to him making up lyrics to songs he loved but didn’t quite remember. I miss having him tell me to look after the girls, to make sure they got home safe, to look out for their safety… I miss looking into those eyes, and seeing love look back out at me… I miss giving him a hug goodbye and feeling his leather jacket as I gave him the manly pat on the back…

Cliff’s hope and his existence were found in a bottle, when first we met. This man, who had done so much already in his life, who had studied, worked, married, had children, been involved in his church… this man who, due to various events and circumstances, had found himself on the streets of Belfast, was leading out his existence through booze and ciggarettes. And I doubt he ever thought it possible that he would touch the hearts of so many. This man, who caught a glimpse of love in action… who caught a glimpse of God in action, of God’s kingdom working… this wee man, who caught a glimpse of hope and dared to go after it… this man, uncle cliff, taught me about love. Taught me about hope. Taught me about humility. He taught me about grace, and showed me even the smallest glimpse of what can happen in this city.

Cliff was my friend. And it hurts, it really does hurt not being able to see him. It hurts, knowing that only when I follow where he has gone, will we likely see one another again. It hurts me… to know that my friend is gone from this earth. To know that no new memories will be made…

But I thank God, I praise Him for the time He granted us… for the time He blessed me and my friends with having our dear uncle cliff with us. For the lessons God used him to teach me… for the way God worked in mighty ways in and through my friend, even when he couldn’t see it. Thank you Lord for those times… thank you Lord for the memories, the precious memories that become all the more priceless in the knowledge that they now hold and represent this man that we loved so much… this man that You created, designed, used, and loved, deeply and passionately loved… this wee man from the streets of Belfast who became our friend, our brother, our family. Thank you, thank you Lord for Cliff. And please take good care of Him God… I miss him.

It’s just not ok… and it never has been

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2009 by Phil Alcorn

I was in the middle of a post to go here, and I had to stop. It just wasn’t coming across clearly, and I think I need time to process it some more before I go making any statements.

But for now, I will say this. I met with a friend tonight. And we were awoken to what we, the Christian church in the west, and particularly in Northern Ireland, have become. We, Christ’s followers, have become so afraid of offending people, even each other, that we won’t even do each other the loving service of calling each other up on behaviour that is unGodly and not right. Behaviour that I have witnessed so many times even over the past 2 weeks… behaviour and statements and speech and attitudes which are not only not promoting God’s kingdom here on earth, but actually paint Christ in a bad light! And I have taken part in these times, these failings. Even, even things as seemingly simple as struggling with our Bible study, prayer times, and so on, we will justify to each other with soothing statements like ‘It’s ok, everyone struggles with that’… which is true, but that doesn’t make it ok to just accept and go on with a mediocre attempt at reading and praying!

I mean, look at whats at stake!! Do we even believe the message we bring?? If we did, would we not fight for EVERY soul, for EVERY person we met who didn’t know Christ!? Would we not lovingly call each other to account on things we do which are not ok, which damage the kingdom?! Would we not laugh at the idea of remaining silent to adhere to ‘political correctness?! This life, these things are SERIOUS guys!! Yes, it’s ok to have struggles, and yes, we all have them… but it is NOT OK to sit back and use that as an excuse not to change!!! God is just WAITING to bless us if we would only wake up and hold each other accountable, wake up and realise that some things are worth fighting for, worth being ridiculed for, even worth putting friendships on the line for!!

I realise I have rambled on and said more than I intended to. Be assured, I will be thinking more on this issue and making a more coherant post sometime soon… because these things are NOT OK, and please dear God let us act on them even now!!

I leave you with one final thought that chilled me to my very core… chilled me because not only did hearing it out loud make me realise how awful and how big a danger this statement is, but also that I myself am guilty of it, even now… it is a statement my friend made to me this evening as we discussed things…

‘She told me that she genuinely feared that if, in 5 years time, she lost her faith, her Christian friends here in Northern Ireland wouldn’t even breach the issue with her for fear of being too controversial…’


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 17, 2009 by Phil Alcorn

So, check me out. I write to you now from my iPod, the first time I think I have officially done so… and part of me feels like the biggest need ever for having a blogging app on my iPod. It’s now been a little over two months since I last posted a draft… And while it seems like so much has happened, it also oddly feels like not much has happened at all…

It is three months, almost to the day, since Cliff’s funeral. A full quarter of a year. And part of me feels so disturbed by how UNdisturbed I sometimes am by that fact. Three months have gone by, and life has gone on with them. And I find myself wondering, am I any different?

The past three months have seen their own changes too. I now find myself with nothing left between me and graduation but two exams. And yes, occassionally I fear to have my four years at Queens defined by a single slip of paper I will receive at the end of it all… but that is a post for another day. For now, I find myself marvelling at how fast my time here has gone… All the things I always said I’d be around to doing, all the friends I have made, the people I have fallen out of touch with, the lessons I have learned and mistakes I have made… And it strikes me, I don’t think I’m ready for all that to be over. Much as I know the next chapter of my life is charging down upon me, I’m not ready to leave this chapter yet. I have too many things still to do, to many relationships still to invest in, too many goals to achieve…

But perhaps I’m just being naive… Let’s face it, even if the next chapter WEREN’T approaching fast, there are still opportunities it looks like I’m never going to get a chance at again…

Brief plug…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 7, 2009 by Phil Alcorn

Not something I commonly go in for, plugs, but I believe this merits some attention…

Some of you may know that amateur photography is a hobby of mine… and there are a few people whose work has inspired me immensely as I muck around with my own photo-taking. A friend of mine, and fellow blogger, Connor, is one of those people. Personally speaking, I find his work outstanding, and seeing as he has just released a new photo book of photographs of his travels from around the world, I thought I’d give him a wee plug. There are some stunning shots contained within, and if you’re a coffee-table photo book kinda person (or even if your aren’t!) you should definitely check it out…

As an additional point, he does photoshoot sessions (portraits, family portraits, engagement shoots etc…) – check out his work on his website.

Keeping a record…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 16, 2008 by Phil Alcorn

For most of you, I’m afraid this post will make no sense… however, it is the best place at the moment for me to be recording these thoughts, dreams and ideas that are to follow, as by posting them here the relevant people can see and remember the important bits…

Sorry if that, or the following, makes no sense to you.

Boardroom meeting. Chairman says, “Dont forget about Evangeline” or “Remember Evangeline” or something like that.
Evangeline: Good news; bearer of good news  -> is this the meaning of ‘Evangeline’ in the above situation?
Dream occured during second semester term time, year 07/08

Big tent appeared from nowhere at Castlewellan castle, seen from castle car park. Situated roughly in front of lake, to the right of small Lake car park. Tent bright, like light, though not lighting area around it, and not dazzlingly bright. Disappeared when attempt made to photograph it.
Occured before easter, during second semester term time, year 07/08

“Sometimes dreams teach…”
Message received after easter, during second semester term time, year 07/08

Brother views scene, feels as though viewing it from a rear view mirror. Man walks up a street, in the road. Night-time, pouring rain, man has his hood up. Crowd lines each side of the street, watching man. One individual in crowd, a man, seems particularly angry. Man walking up the road falls to his knees. Another man enters, places his hands on the fallen mans shoulders, and whispers in his ear.
Dream occured during summer following second semester, year 07/08

Darkness all around, except for people dressed as soldiers standing in a circle of light, colour and grass, all facing outwards towards the darkness. The boundary is marked by a bright line. The line grows outwards, and more area becomes light, green and alive. The soldiers step forward to occupy the new area, stopping when they reach the new boundary. The boundary grows again, the soldiers advance again. Scene seen almost like the creation of Narnia as described in ‘The Magicians Nephew’, and the soliders occupy the new area retrieved from the darkness
Picture received one night in prayer time at late love at fisherwick, end of year 06/07 or start of year 07/08

“I saw a ruined city, nothing but rubble, destroyed buildings and fires. In this ruined city were people; people with dirty faces, broken bones, wounds and sores and with a look of pure sadness about them. Beyond the city was sheer darkness; as if the people in this ruined city were surrounded by a sea of night. They were afraid of the darkness, almost as if hid from their view a tide of demons ready to break against the ruins and sweep away those who remained.  Inside the city, however, there was a change.  One man sat looking towards the darkness.  As he sat he heard the sounds of change… the sounds of revolution.  In broken buildings secret crowds started to gather… started to move.  Some came together in worship.  Each of their faces told a different story:  some stories of pain from the past, some of hope for the future and some just stood with hands aloft in adoration.  Others gathered to mull over an ancient text.  They studied words of scripture, letting it permeate each and every one of their thoughts.  They read it together and were filled with joy at the good news of which it told.
From the rubble of the city the people got up and started to move purposefully towards the darkness, like an army ready to attack. Then I saw the reason. The people emerging from the city were backed by an Army of Angels. I heard a voice sing “maybe redemption has stories to tell” and on those notes the people and the Army of Angels started to run, like a charge had been sounded against the darkness. Then the music stopped and the voice just cried ‘salvation is here.’  Time slowed down, like the people and the Army of Angels were bracing themselves for when they broke upon the darkness. Then time stopped altogether.”
Named the ‘Dare you to move’ dream

“the world is screwed up. thats a fact
its one big rotating mass of deceit, violence and storms
lightning rips through the skies of human existence, evidence of the storms raging within every life
the torrential dounpour of hatred, racism, intolerance, of INDIFFERENCE, beats down upon me

i look down at what ive become
a victim of society
a statistic of the state
just another passer by on the boulevard of mediocrity

my lips speak of a light my life can hardly show

whilst the world tears itself apart into darkness
whilst the ‘martyrs’ breed wars of hatred and revenge
whilst the west walks the road paved with indifference and apathy
i find myself trudging through the endless mediocrity that my life has become

the rain still pours down upon me
the lightning still flashes above
and from within the pits of my dispair and self-loathng at what i have let myself become, i finally see it

the figure, standing in the midst of the raging storms of self-doubt and destruction
he stands on the streets, in the secret world of peoples hearts
standing on the boulevard of broken dreams, of broken bottles, of tears that well up in the darkness of the private moments
the alleyway of pain
the arena of self-destruction
the backyard of apathy
standing barefoot among the rocks and glass

the rains of doubt and dispair beat against his body
a torrential downpour surges over him
but he does not become wet
he does not absorb it
he does not drink it in

the winds of indifference, of apathy, of fear and of impatience tear past him
but he is unmoved

the lightning of disruption sears open the sky above him
but he stays focused on those around him

i see him now, standing amidst the darkest of the worlds dark, the most agonising of the planets pains
he looks up at me, tear-stained face and puffy eyes revealing his pain for the suffering around him

then he smiles

and i see all that ive become, all that i am – and realise i fall hideously short
but in that same moment, rain pummeling against my body, wind tearing against me, i see something else
i see what i can be

i see me in pain, i see me weeping, i see me battered and bruised, i see me ridiculed and rejected

but not for self pity, not over myself

i see myself in pain, all those things
for him
for his world
as he is in the world, amidst its darkest dispairs, sharing its greatest pains, but is not OF the world, not DEFINED by the world
so too i can see my potential for such a position

the smile…

raises me from my stupor
the rain beats harder
the wind tears stronger
the lightning flashes hotter
and he is beside me

‘come… my strength i give to you, with my light i fill you…
come… this is your path… take up your cross, and follow me…’

i can feel it now
the opposition grows stronger
the apathy fighting to control me grows more intense
the rain, the wind, fight to keep me in place

but he is with me
the road before me is no easier
the rocks and glass do not disappear
the storm does not ease
but together… we take a step forward…”

Written two years ago at time of posting

Related? Unrelated? Meaning?

I have faith…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 2, 2008 by Phil Alcorn

I hope this isnt a misleading title… I didn’t name this post with any idea or plan on how this post was going to turn out. That being said, I must stress that this is not one of my attempts to just write a post without plan or care, and see what comes out. No, I am writing this post for a reason, a reason I don’t understand just yet. I am writing this post because, tonight, I feel I must. God, I believe, is leading me to post something tonight. I’m not saying it’s going to be spectacular, or breathtaking, or profound – i expect nothing of the sort, I am merely saying that whatever this post becomes shall be simply a result of my having faith that God wants me to post tonight.

I have been talking tonight with a guy who has become much more than a friend to me… he has been my guide, my teacher, my encourager, my companion… he is my brother. He has been with me this year, through my highs, and through my lows… he has listened to my ramblings, my deepest secrets, my theories on life, my theological ideas… he has shared in my joys and my griefs alike, been with me on the nights when I need an adventure, the nights when I need to vent, and the nights when I simply need a friend. We have walked together, taken photos together, driven together, prayed together, praised together, questioned together, eaten together, postulated together, laughed together, cried together, stood together and kneeled together. And God has led us, together, along a road I don’t understand…

I have posted before about Belfast, but not often. I can’t recall if I have ever spoken about my dreams for this place, dreams which my brother and I have shared. God has led us along a road this past year, a road that leads somewhere… though where the road ends, I cannot tell you. I cannot tell you, because I simply do not know. All I know is that God has big plans for Belfast, for this city… and God has been leading my brother and I along a road of preparation. We havent always understood the journey, or the steps along the way… We may now have more questions and fewer answers than we started with… But God has been leading us here, and leading us here for a reason. We have both grown along the way, and have both helped each other to grow. I don’t know how much longer we will continue on this road together. I dont know where this road ends, for one or both of us. I dont know if I am ready to continue along this road without him, without my friend, my brother, my companion. I don’t know what the future holds. All I know is that coming this far with him has been an honour. Without him, I would not have gotten to this stage. Without his constant support, his prayers, his listening ear and his caring heart, I would not be where I am now…

Dude, you know who you are. And I want to say thank you. Thank you for eveything you have done for me, and with me. Thank you for everything I have written here, and everything I havent. I love you, my brother, and I hope and pray God will bless me by allowing our journey together to continue… but even if he doesn’t, know this – friendship may be unstable, but brotherhood is forever.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 15, 2008 by Phil Alcorn

Well, I’m sitting at gate A14 at Dublin airport, waiting to be called onto the flight for Morocco. Things are good so far, good team bonding, and a lot of laughs. I saw an internet terminal as we were sitting waiting, so I thought I’d make a quick post as I realised I didn’t actually say I was leaving!!

Anyway, must shoot on now, they’re calling us on… quick post today… I’ll update on here when I can…

No thinking

Posted in Uncategorized on February 14, 2008 by Phil Alcorn

It’s been a while…

My blog is kinda strange I think. I don’t tend to check my posts, I don’t proof read them, I don’t change what I have written. But usually I think about what I am going to post before I post it.

I haven’t done that this time, however. I guess I just kinda wonder what would happen if I just wrote and wrote and didn’t really give myself time to think. Now, this idea does in itself tug a little on my memory banks, as if perhaps I have done this before… or maybe I merely thought about it… Anyhow, seeing as I’m trying to do this without a great deal of planning, I can’t afford the time it will take me to trawl back through my posts and have a check.

I find myself in a very odd sort of place right now. I’m not really sure how to feel about anything right now… I’m too busy to let myself feel much, I think. Or perhaps thats just an excuse, maybe I just don’t WANT to feel some things… but then again, is that just my mind trying to create excitement and intruige where there is none? I don’t know… Perhaps its more a case of feeling so many different things all at once that they kinda level each other out, y’know? In the past while, some really really crappy things have happened. And in that same while, some great and unexpected things have happened. Some things have passed on, and some things have arrived. Some old conflicts have been settled, some new ones have arisen. Some old friends have moved away, and some new ones have been made. Things are always moving, always changing, it seems. Old, new, come, go, changing, changing, changing… Sometimes, I just wish things would stay the same, even just for a while…

But then, thinking about it, is that REALLY what I wish? I’ve always longed for adventure. I really latched on to stories like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and so on, and dreamed of excitement, of adventure, of quests and heros and excitement. In those stories, things rarely stayed the same, if ever. ‘Always in motion, the future is…’ says Yoda, and for those stories, he was right. Yea, I wanted that sort of life, I dreamt about being a character in that great story of intruige and excitement and danger…

But looking deeper, was even THAT what I was looking for? Why WAS it that I felt such a strong pull to those characters? Was it the adventures they got themselves into? Or was it rather the significance they had in the story… the fact that they made a difference, fighting on the front lines, doing it all and going beyond possibility in the name of Good, and actually CHANGING things for the better. Maybe it was both, I don’t know. I’m too tired to try and figure that out right now, and this typing as I think thing doesn’t allow for very coherant thought patterns. But I guess, at the end of the day, regardless of why it was I identified with these characters (or perhaps wanted to be them is a better way of putting it), I saw excitement and purpose in their lives. I thought, ‘how lucky they are, they must LOVE this…’. But you know what? A lot of the time they didn’t. A lot of the time, they were down, disheartened, depressed, and longing for home. Luke missed his Aunt and Uncle. Han Solo wanted nothing more than to settle down with Leia. Frodo and Sam CONSTANTLY yearned for the comfort and safety of the Shire, feeling out of place in such a big world with such evil events. And THAT, right now, has encouraged me. I know this probably makes no sense as a post, but it has encouraged me in writing it. The people who make a difference, who make a change, who make an impact… they endure all kinds of crap, and you know what? They don’t always like it. They rarely do. They often feel down or disheartened. But they strive on, they keep going. PRAISE GOD for showing me this, haha! Thank you, Lord, for giving me encouragement!

Allow me to break me ‘no thinking’ rule for a moment to sign off with my favourite ever movie quote… Mr Samwise Gamgee, talking to Frodo Baggins, during the attack on Osgiliath (Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers)

little update…

Posted in Uncategorized on December 19, 2007 by Phil Alcorn

I have been musing a lot lately… but not blogging… This isnt intentional, merely I just haven’t felt like putting down my thoughts in a while. So I guess this is just a post to reassure myself that my blogging side isn’t actually dead…

That being said, nothing is particularly inspiring me to write right now… But I’m going to go watch an episode of Heroes, which usually puts me in an extremely pensieve mood…