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I hope you find material here to enrich, resource and inspire you as you learn and grow in your own discipleship and ministry.

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Expressing God’s welcome

Thom Shulz has explored the reasons why people both leave and stay away from the church in the West, and proposes Four Acts of Love that could make the church ‘irresistible.’ With a bit of cultural translation, I think he is on to something important.

The first Act of Love is called ‘Radical Hospitality.’ Shultz explores this in chapters 5 and 6 of his book Why Nobody Wants to go to Church Anymore, the first of the two chapters exploring what the term means, and the second looking at practical strategies. The exploration involves looking at radical hospitality as:

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Ken Bailey on The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd: A thousand-year journey from Psalm 23 to the New Testament (A guest review by Richard Briggs) Ken Bailey worked for many years in the Middle East, taught the Bible there, and sat with and spoke with those whose ways of life reflected in some measure the perspectives and assumptions of biblical times. […]

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Life as labyrinth

Last week, returning from a half-term break in France, we had a tyre blow out on the autoroute and, since almost everything is closed on a Sunday in France, we had an unplanned extra day there. We stayed over in St Quentin, a town of ancient foundation which was the capital of the war-like Viromandui, […]

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How often should we fast?

Since we are now in Lent, it might be a good time to review the spiritual habit of fasting. Jesus clearly expected his followers to fast after he had gone, so it is odd that this is not a widespread habit amongst all Christians. To answer this, we need to ask some background questions. How often […]

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Which party should I vote for?

There has been a flurry of activity this week on the question of the forthcoming election and Christian faith. Tuesday saw the publication of the House of Bishops’ pastoral letter ‘Who is my neighbour?’ (WIMN) identifying key issues to consider for Anglicans as they vote, and today sees the publication of a survey by the Evangelical Alliance on the attitudes and concerns of evangelicals as the election looms.

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Can the ‘traditional’ view of sexuality ever be plausible?

I’m often intrigued by those who argue that the church’s stance on sexuality—which usually means the church’s traditional opposition to seeing same-sex sexual unions as equivalent to male-female marriage—as an obstacle to mission. They are quite right that most people beyond the church look at this aspect of its teaching with more or less blank […]

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Labour, business and democracy

The question of Labour’s relationship with business, and business’ evaluation of Labour’s competence in financial management, has continued to rumble on all week. It started with the proclamation by Stefano Pessina, Chairman of Boots PLC, that if Labour were elected it would be a ‘catastrophe’ for the British economy. Interestingly, this did Boots’ reputation no […]

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Allocating giving for ministry (‘parish share’)

In just about every deanery I have been involved with, the allocation of ‘parish share’, the contribution to the central financing of the diocese, has been a matter of contention. As with many decisions, disagreements are heightened when they are focussed on the practical decisions involved. This is often because underlying principles have not been […]

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Stephen Fry and God

Stephen Fry has caused a bit of a stir with his comments to Gay Byrne on the kind of god he does not believe in. As is his habit, Fry did not hold back: How dare you? How dare you create a world to which there is such misery that is not our fault. It’s […]

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Can evangelism be done ethically?

When I was a newish Christian, one of the books that had everyone talking was Rebecca Manley Pippert’s Out of the Saltshaker. I am not sure how much I read of it, but I still remember an opening line: Evangelism was something I wouldn’t do to my dog, let alone my best friend. This is more […]

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Resolving conflict in Galatians 2

Last week I preached on Galatians 2.1–10 as part of our sermon series on this letter. Stranded on a train at the weekend because of a landslide, I spent some time wrestling with the main question that has dogged study of Galatians in recent years: to whom was it written and when? There are two […]

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