About

John Barber was born at Rochford Hospital, just outside Southend, UK (40 miles east of London) in 1951. He grew up and has lived there for most of his life, despite traveling widely. He now lives with Jolly (his wife), Matthew (his son) (studying at Aston University) and three cats at their home in Southend (they also have a home in Trivandrum, India, where some of their family live). He holds three degrees: BA (Hons.), B.Sc. (Hons.) and PGCE. He has had three careers: secondary school science teacher, software engineer and computer consultant (including 12 years running his own business) and community worker, and has been involved in serving the community, in a wide variety of ways. He has been doing this in a full time (some paid; but these days unpaid) capacity since 2001.

india family

John with his “India” family

He is now “retired” but remains a gospel preaching community activist. He has some health issues but is grateful to God for being able to make a difference. He reflects on his past wide ranging activities and observations as a Christian involved in the wider community in his book: “Outside the Camp” – which was intended at telling his story and setting the record straight, and to encourage current and future community activists. He has written a number of other books, many of which can be found in electronic form, with more to come, and freely available as downloads from this website.

He continues with a variety of hands-on community activities that cover a variety of interests. He facilitates and is chair of the Southend homeless action network (SHAN), networks and consults widely and is involved in various activities to serve the community. He is also involved with Street Spirit, where he is also chair, a sort of soup kitchen. He is especially interested in helping the homeless, including managing one of the churches homeless night shelters, running from November to March each year. He is involved with other activities too e.g. inter-faith dialogue, helping sanctuary seekers and advising and simply mucking in with charitable enterprises. He is active in his own local church, including as a preacher and teacher and having served many years as an elder in a Brethren assembly (these days he is a member of a Grace Baptist church), and works among churches wider afield, regardless of denominational label, while remaining Reformed in his theology.

He writes and blogs regularly. He has a particular interest in and love for India, where he has family and friends, visiting when he can. He takes particular interest in today’s culture wars, world events, Israel / Judaism and the Middle East / Islam and is a critical friend of Jews and Muslims alike. He reads widely (especially the Bible), enjoys walking in the great outdoors, follows numerous sports especially cricket, listens to the news from various sources and plays chess as part of a local chess team as well as playing online.

Back to the website – it is, as the strap line at the top the page says, under the author’s mug shot, a place to deposit (some at least) of the “thoughts, publications, activities and interests of John Barber“. Most of the content can be accessed via the tabs below the strap line. It was envisaged the website will be regularly updated, which has been largely the case, especially the blog (the main feature of the website). Check here for a list of all the blog entries, all of which you can click onto.  The number of blog entries now exceeds 1000 and covers a wide range of subjects and is intended as a commentary on his times from his perspective as a gospel preaching community activist wanting to provide balanced insights, albeit based on his own theological understanding and interests.

John sees his role as a watchmen, concerned not just with some of the significant goings in the world but also that people should be aware, especially his main constituency – the Christian church. There is a lot of good things happening too as well as more fun stuff, which for the sake of balance is also covered. He posts typically every other day on topical subjects that captures his imagination and engages regularly in dialogue, e.g. via social media. He realises there is much he doesn’t know, which he must leave to others, but given we live in turbulent times and we need to respond. He is committed to serving God’s mystery: the Church. He hopes to play his part, including pointing people to Christ, giving God glory and passing the baton to the next generation of God’s servants.

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About the Writings: this is an opportunity to access the author’s main writings over many years and are available as free downloads.

About the Blog: New entries are added regularly (typically every other day) on a huge range of subjects, covering religion, politics, current events and assorted personal interests. The number is now well over 1000. People are invited to comment and do. The blog makes extensive use of hyperlinks – so things referred to on the world wide web or on this website can be more readily accessed.

About SHAN: this relates to an organisation that deals with some of the author’s main community activist interests, especially around homelessness, and contains some helpful links and resources. This contains the latest rough sleeper leaflet and details of meetings.

About the Gospel: as one who has been called to preach and sees it as his main activity, it seemed appropriate to the author that he could do just that using his website. It is a brief, direct, no nonsense, no frills presentation of the most important message ever!

About About: nothing more to say – this page is it and has been produced to help visitors navigate their way around this website.

About Links: this relates to the main websites (all currently maintained) regularly accessed by the author, in particular those used when setting up this website. Each website address is pointed to along with a short description. We have checked out each link and confirm they work and the information is currently being updated. The author recognises there are many other useful links to do with community etc., he refers to on at least an intermittent basis.

About News: this provides information about things going on in the author’s life, things he is involved with and things he would like to plug. It was intended to prefix items of interest on a regular basis as matters arise, although it has been a bit hit and miss thus far!

While he won’t commit to having protracted dialogues, he welcomes respectful and meaningful exchanges, including feedback and questions, even from and with those who disagree with him. The author is of the view that the overriding consideration ought not be pride, prejudice or eloquence but rather truth, righteousness and justice, along with meekness, humility and grace.

Note: for those not familiar with hyperlinks, this technique is used in many websites – you place your mouse cursor over highlighted or underlined text, left mouse click and, providing ti corresponds to a valid Internet address, up pops a page of information etc. relating to that text. Hyperlinks have been used extensively in this website and what a boon this is when providing more information! (Suggestion: move your cursor over the word “hyperlinks” and click your left mouse button to find out more on this subject. Afterward, click on the left arrow at the top of the screen to return to where you were).

You can contact John Barber at: jjandm.barber@blueyonder.co.uk

You can also telephone him 01702-616302 (leave a message if no reply). He is a regular Facebook user and posts regularly (https://www.facebook.com/john.barber.3956) and engages with his friends there (please send a “friend request” if you want to be added). Check out his “An Open Letter to my Facebook friends” to find out what is involved and what his expectations are.

last updated 23 September 2018

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