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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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Should we ‘Hate the sin and love the sinner’?

Over on the new-ish blog Via Media, Simon Butler has responded to a brief conversation he and I had online, in which he argues that the mantra ‘Hate the sin, love the sinner’ is not only unhelpful, but positively harmful and damaging, and unfailingly hinders the agenda of sharing God’s love. Given Simon’s intense dislike (hatred?) for this phrase, but his commitment to still seeing me as his ‘old friend’ (I take that to mean ‘long-standing’!), then it appears as though Simon is himself practising ‘Hate the slogan, love the sloganeer’. I wonder if he sees the irony in putting into the practice the very statement he is refuting.


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What is the meaning of the Ascension?

What would you identify as the climax and completion of Jesus’ life and ministry? Surprisingly, this is not a trivial question. One of the key differences between John and the synoptic gospels is that, where the synoptics portray the crucifixion as a necessary but incomplete act on the way to the resurrection, John portrays it […]


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Making our mind up on the European Union

As with much of the wider population, many Christians remain unclear as to how they will vote in the June referendum on EU membership. Some are strongly committed to leave or to remain but most are probably still making their mind up. Sadly much of the campaign is focussed simply on claims and counter-claims about […]


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Does setting targets help with growth?

Last Saturday I attended our Diocesan Synod—and came away having had a fascinating and absorbing time. (I am not sure I had ever anticipated saying that about a Diocesan Synod!) The first half of the meeting was what you might usually expect. We receive annual reports from across the diocese, the most important being the […]


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Should we aim for a pure church?

I have just been doing some writing on the anthropology of the Book of Revelation, and it is quite a challenging topic. In exploring how a book depicts human existence, you might (for example, in Paul’s letters) look at theological terminology or (for example, in the gospels) explore the narrative construction of reality. Neither of […]


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A Christian Perspective on the state of the NHS

As we anticipate another strike day by junior doctors, Dr John Pike, a GP in the Bristol area and regular reader of this blog, offers these reflections on the current state of the Health Service. Aneurin Bevan, the founder of the NHS, once stated: “Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor […]


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Response: Christian Concern and the Victoria Wasteney case

On Wednesday I was contacted by Tim Dieppe, a long time reader of this blog and recently appointed as Director of Islamic Affairs at Christian Concern, following the publication of the article about CC and the Wasteney case. I was happy to offer Tim a right of reply, giving Christian Concern’s more detailed perspective. I […]


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What does growth look like?

In the face of decline in church attendance, there is regular talk of the importance of growth—though that is accompanied by an insistence that concern for growth is not a reaction to decline, but a rediscovery that God wants to give growth, that healthy things grow naturally, and that growth is good for the church […]


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Christian Concern and the Victoria Wasteney case

Peter Ould writes: A week ago Christian Concern issued a press release covering the failed Employment Tribunal Appeal of Victoria Wasteney, an NHS therapist who was disciplined for her interactions with a female muslim junior. According the Christian Concern (hereafter CC), the case raises all kinds of freedom of religion issues, but on closer examination is […]


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Poetic structure in Jesus’ teaching

In doing some research on Matthew’s portrait of Jesus, I have been struck afresh by the poetic structuring of Jesus’ teaching. Noticing this raises interesting issues both about our engagement with the texts and our understanding of them, but also some questions about how the texts have come to us in their current form. A […]


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What are the Additional Baptism texts doing?

The latest Grove Worship booklet Accessible Baptisms introduces the Additional Baptism texts which were published at the end of last year. The author, Tim Stratford, was in parish ministry for many years, for some time in an outer estate in Liverpool, before becoming Archdeacon of Leicester in 2012. Like the best of sermons, the booklet starts […]


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