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Tag Archives | discipleship

The meaning of martyrdom

Whenever I travel on the train, I have to think carefully about whether I wear my clerical collar, or whether I travel in ‘mufti’. It partly depends on what kind of meeting or event I am travelling to, but it also depends on whether I want to work quietly on the train, or am happy […]

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The subversive power of grace

The latest Grove Biblical text is by John Barclay, Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at the University of Durham, and is a profound exploration of the meaning of grace, following his major work from last year Paul and the Gift. John starts with a very helpful analysis of what might be called the taxonomy of grace: when […]

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The sending of the 72 in Luke 10

In case you are still looking for ideas on preaching this passage (or hearing it preached on) here is my sermon for this morning: What is your vocation? What have you been called to? You might not think you have one—after all, isn’t vocation something for people doing worthy jobs that call for self-sacrifice—teachers, doctors, […]

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Does grace despise virtue?

In our mid-size group in our church we are using the Pilgrim Course to study the Lord’s Prayer. This week we were reflecting on ‘Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us’, and we were directed to explore the so-called parable of the Prodigal Son (really, the parable of the Forgiving […]

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Why you need Bible reading notes

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Christian in possession of a Bible must be in want of some help in reading it. Bible reading notes were once the staple of any church which believed the Bible to be a vital resource for discipleship and growth, but like many habits, regular Bible reading and […]

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Moving beyond Common Worship

On different occasions I have explored here some of the problems and issues with Common Worship. This has included general issues with the approach, some difficulties with Daily Prayer, and criticisms of the additional baptism texts as well as how they might be helpful. Underlying all these issues is the question of CW’s overall approach: rather […]

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Should Christians be theologians?

It is always entertaining to read the online theological commentary following Trinity Sunday. One of the most popular memes was ‘Heresy bingo anyone?’ (Do a search if you did not see it.) The most strident comment amongst my Facebook ‘friends’ was this: This morning had to listen to another tediously irrelevant sermon on the lines […]

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The nonsense of the ‘broad church’

It is often claimed, with pride, that the Church of England is a ‘broad church’, and to think this is a bad thing is to be narrow-minded and unreasonable. But the question never addressed is ‘how broad can a church be?’ I would certainly agree that sound theology can never come down to a single […]

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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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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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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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