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What’s being debated at General Synod?

In my last time on General Synod (from 2000 to 2005) it seemed to take some time to gather momentum and get its teeth into the substantial issues for debate. That is usually the case, since there is always a turnover of membership, and new members take time to get up to speed with both the content of debate and the mode of procedure in Synod itself.

I thought that might be the case this time round as well—not least because (with the legislation on women bishops now past) there has been a higher than usual turnover of membership. But the debate seems set to be joined in earnest sooner rather than later. The main items coming up this week, from Monday to Wednesday, are as follows.

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Do we need Karl Barth’s help with ethics?

I have a confession to make: I feel rather ambivalent about Karl Barth. As a theology undergraduate, I absolutely loved reading his Evangelical Theology. But when doing my PhD on hermeneutics and Revelation, I came across some of his later writing on saga, and was very much less convinced. In rejecting the legacy of Liberal Protestantism’s […]

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Theological discourse and the sexuality debate

A week is a long time in politics, and it is just as long in church politics and the media coverage of it. Just three weeks after perhaps the most important gathering of the Primates of the Anglican Communion for a decade, almost everyone in the media has moved on, as if there is nothing to […]

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Lent disciplines for evangelical leaders

One of the constant temptations of evangelicalism is to decide that we have all the answers and so do not need to listen very carefully to what others say. A parallel temptation is to have the same attitude to God. He has revealed himself in Scripture and has made his will evident—so surely we just […]

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Can we deal with hard questions?

At our  church weekend away last weekend, I ran two seminars on how we engage with difficult questions about faith. The blurb for the sessions said: One of the things that keeps us quiet about our faith is a fear of the questions that might follow. Can you prove the existence of God? Why is […]

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I’m still not busy

Three times in the last week or so, I have received a communication from someone which says ‘I know you are very busy…’ and these have stuck in my mind. One of these said ‘I am sure you are very busy—I know that I am.’ A couple of things struck me immediately. The first, and […]

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Can you be an effective leader without destroying your family?

It is a poignant week to consider this question—which quite separately a friend raised with me yesterday by email. I’m leading a workshop on ‘Living in the love of God at home and with family’. As I’ve prepared for it I’ve found very little theological and pastoral reflection (in print) on a theology of pastors/leaders as […]

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What do supporters of same-sex marriage believe and why?

Andrew Goddard offers his analysis of the recent survey: Despite all our Shared Conversations, it remains largely a mystery as to what people in the Church of England really believe about same-sex marriage. Jayne Ozanne has just published a survey which claims to shed new light on this by identifying Anglicans in England and finding […]

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How should we pray for evangelism?

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have announced a focus on mission in May. Cathedrals and churches are being urged to set aside the week before Pentecost as a week of prayer for evangelism. The plan has arisen from the Evangelism Task Group, which is itself and interesting venture. The briefing paper for the next session […]

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Does the Church of England have ‘members’?

Lurking behind many of the current debates on mission, ministry, doctrine and discipleship there is often an unspoken assumption about whether or not the Church of England should be considered in terms of its ‘members’. At one end of the spectrum, some appear to think that it ought to, and that there should be a […]

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The YouGov poll on same-sex marriage

Jayne Ozanne, former director of Accepting Evangelicals, commissioned YouGov to undertake a poll of attitudes to same-sex marriage, and has done a good job of getting the results out in the media yesterday and today. It featured on Radio 4 this morning, and is reported in The Guardian and The Telegraph. Peter Ould, who is […]

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