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Welcome—thanks for visiting my blog!

Come and join us for the first Psephizo Festival of Theology on Tuesday 30th January in Nottingham.

We will be exploring some fascinating issues in how we read Scripture, what it means to be effective in mission, and the challenges of Christian living in the age of social media.

Full details can be found on the Eventbrite page, which includes the programme and details of travel.



Should women and men be paid equally?

I live in a household with a serious gender pay gap. Even when I was in a full-time salaried post, my wife (who is a GP) was earning a multiple of my income working part-time. The reason for this is not, of course, any kind of bizarre reverse-gender discrimination, but simply that she is doing a job which had been judged to be of more (economic? social?) value than mine. There have been two different stories about gender pay gap in the last couple of weeks, and though they have become entwined, they relate to quite distinct issues.

The first is the reporting of companies that have a greater than 15% ‘gender pay gap’, measured as the average pay for male employees compared with the average pay for female employees. On many of the media reports, this was presented under the category of clear injustice, but if you listened closely you might have noticed that reports included an explanation of the reason: that in these businesses, the men are often doing jobs which are paid more, rather than being paid more for the jobs that they do. This is especially the case in businesses that include something technical, and airlines are typical in this regard.

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Paul’s Understanding of Resurrection (ii)

Last year, I wrote some reflections for BRF’s Guidelines Bible reading notes, and they have just been published. I contributed my thoughts on texts in Paul’s letters relation to the resurrection. This is the second section of what I said: 5. Cosmic fulfilment 1 Cor 15.42–58 In the last part of this chapter, Paul moves […]

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Paul’s Understanding of Resurrection (i)

When I came to faith as a teenager, I was taught that I could know the forgiveness and love of God because of Jesus’ death on the cross for my sins—and that this made all the difference. It did indeed, and the sense of security I found from encountering divine love gradually seeped into and transformed every section of my life. But I remember very clearly one day, as I was walking to church, thinking ‘If Jesus’ death achieves everything, why does the resurrection matter?’ A common answer is that it was the proof that Jesus was who he said he was, and that his death really does mean forgiveness. Debate then follows about the historical evidence for the resurrection, and whether it is ‘objectively’ true.

This is important, but it is only one part of Paul’s perspective on the resurrection. As we engage on this fascinating exploration, we will find two important correctives to my early understanding. The first is that Paul views the cross and resurrection as two inseparable parts of one great movement of grace, in which God deals with human sin and the enmity so reconciles humanity to himself. Paul would never have imagined the possibility of talking about the cross without the resurrection. The second is that Paul always sees this one act of cross-and-resurrection as both objective and subjective. It is about what God has done for us in Jesus—but it also shapes the whole of Christian life. The physical movement of baptism, down into the water and up again, becomes for Paul the shape of Christian living as our old life ‘in the flesh’ dies in the death of Jesus, and our new life ‘in the Spirit’ begins in the resurrection of Jesus. We now begin to live the kingdom life of the age to come, though we do so in the context of this age which is ‘passing away’.

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How much are clergy worth?

Just before Christmas, Alan Bartlett’s moving comments about clergy stress were published in the Daily Telegraph. As a vicar, I know better than anyone why so many clergy are close to the edge…In my last three months in the parish, for example, I conducted the funerals of three young women: one died of a drugs […]

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A plea for inclusion

In response to my observation’s about the contradictions and inconsistencies in the Ozanne Foundation and its supporters, David Bennett, a gay celibate Christian, makes this appeal. David is originally from Australia and, having studied at Oxford, he is now undertaking research at St Andrew’s, Scotland. His book A War of Loves is due out later this […]

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Christian doctrine and Schrödinger’s Cat

Erwin Schrödinger was one of the pioneers of quantum theory in the early 20th century, and Schrödinger’s Cat was a thought experiment designed to explain the paradoxical principle of ‘quantum superposition’ in one particular theory of quantum physics. This theory suggested that sub-atomic particles could be thought to be in two contradictory states at the same time, […]

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Does Scripture need the Church?

I’ve recently had two very interesting discussions on the question of whether we can interpret Scripture faithfully and look to Scripture itself to guide us, or whether we need some sort of control on interpretation by the institution of the Church. What was particularly interesting was the fact that these two conversations happened on two […]

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What does the New Year mean?

Like millions of others, I stayed up until midnight on December 31st last year (!) in order to see with friends the turning of the numbers from 2017 to 2018, and together we shared the familiar rituals: party poppers; shouts of ‘Happy New Year’ (with an unnatural emphasis on the ‘New’); singing a Scottish song […]

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Why did Jesus come?

Thousands of sermons and talks up and down the land will have attempted to answer this question in the last week. Why did Jesus come, and what are we celebrating at Christmas? Justin Welby’s sermon in Canterbury on Christmas Day focussed on the theme of freedom or liberation: In the manger is something completely different […]

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