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The Poetry of the Lord’s Prayer

I have previously written about the poetic structure of Jesus’ teaching, drawing on examples from the Beatitudes and Jesus’ eschatological teaching at the end of Matthew. In particular, I highlighted David Wenham’s study of the Lord’s Prayer, where he identifies the careful structuring of the prayer as a poem in two parts:

6 words Opening address
4 words First invocation in relation to God
4 words Second invocation in relation to God
4 + 6 words Third invocation in relation to God with second clause
8 words invocation for our needs
6 + 7 words First invocation in relation to ourselves with second clause
6 words Second invocation in relation to ourselves
6 words Third invocation in relation to ourselves

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“Equal marriage”: Is There A New Christian Ethic for Sex and Marriage?

Last week’s Supreme Court judgment in the US, following swiftly after the Irish referendum, has made the legalisation of same-sex marriage major news again. As in England, the Christian voices have been divided. There are those, including me, who regret this and are aware of the major challenges they now face in bearing witness to marriage as they understand it. There are also Christians who welcome the extension of the good of marriage to same-sex couples and see it as simply sharing it with gay and lesbian people. Surprisingly little attention has been given as to how the latter group should now develop their sexual ethic given same-sex couples can legally marry. Are they simply extending the traditional teaching about sex and marriage to same-sex couples and what would that look like? Or are they – as seems to be the case with most secular supporters – simply welcoming the rectifying of an injustice which now gives gay and lesbian couples the same options in relation to structuring their relationships as straight couples have had for some time?

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Is Revelation a unity or a composite?

One of the most striking things about the text of Revelation is its literary variability—changes in style, vocabulary, narrative shape and characters from section to section. This is evidenced in its first chapter, most notably at the level of genre. Whilst it is generally recognised that Revelation is a mix of three major genres—of epistle, […]

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Who’d want to be perfect?

I have become unexpectedly gripped by the new sci-fi drama on Channel 4, Humans—and I am not the only one. It has become Channel 4’s biggest drama since The Camomile Lawn in 1992. It is set in an alternative present, where robots have been developed far enough to look human and are known as ‘synths.’ […]

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What did Jesus look like?

There’s a subject which everyone is talking about, and which threatens to split the church. Jesus does not mention it explicitly, but he does not contradict the clear references that we find in the Old Testament. Some would argue that it is a question of indifference, of adiaphora, where others point to the consequences of going […]

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Is wrong doctrine harmful?

The employment tribunal concerning Jeremy Pemberton is over, but it is far from finished. As Jeremy himself comments on the previous post on this, final submissions will be offered in July and read in September, and the judgement will be made after that. I had not realised that the tribunal would be taking place down […]

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Why are there so many interpretations of Revelation?

I was initially planning to call this post ‘Why is Revelation so difficult to interpret?’ There are lots of reasons for that. The first is that it is intricately connected with its historical context in ways which fundamentally affect the way we interpret it. Perhaps the best-known example of this is the question of what […]

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Briefing: the Jeremy Pemberton Employment Tribunal Case

This guest post by Peter Ould explains what is at stake in the Jeremy Pemberton Employment Tribunal Case. What is happening? The Revd Jeremy Pemberton is taking the Archbishop of York and Bishop Richard Inwood (who was the acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham) to an Employment Tribunal over the refusal of Bishop Richard to grant […]

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Tony Campolo’s change of heart

I wrote this piece for Christianity Magazine blog last week. I have added some other perspectives below. It was with some sadness that I read of Tony Campolo’s change of heart on the question of same-sex relationships. But was with even greater sadness that I read his reasoning. I was sad because Tony has been a […]

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Why we need to read more slowly

I suspect that you are familiar with the modern proverb ‘The devil’s in the detail.’ It usually comes up when people are agreed on the general issues involved in a problem, but there is more to be done in working out the solution. But I was rather shocked to discover the original form of this […]

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How to give (and receive) feedback

I have spent 30 years giving feedback and encouraging others to do so in a range of professional, personal and ministerial contexts. These have included being a personnel professional in an FMCG multi-national, being an ordained leader working with lay and ordained colleagues, and in the context of theological education. As a result I have […]

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