Church investment: unethical? Unbiblical?

The historic investments of the Church of England are managed by the Church Commissioners, who are formally independent of Church leadership though report to General Synod. They hit the headlines in the 1980s when they lost a staggering £800 million, largely through unwise property speculation, and though there have been glitches since then, the financial … Continue Reading

Vicky Beeching and the sexuality debate

Vicky Beeching is a reasonably well-known figure in media circles. She often comments on Sky News about Christianity in the public sphere, is a contributor to Thought for the Day, and (rather occasionally now) blogs. Vicky studied theology at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford, then spent 8 years in the States where she established a reputation … Continue Reading

How to file your sermons

Filing and organising past sermons doesn’t sound like a thrilling or life-changing activity. But in fact there are a number of good reasons to give it some attention: It helps to see what you have been preaching on, the diet you have been giving people, and the diet you yourself have enjoyed. Is it balanced? … Continue Reading

Is God a warrior? (part 2)

(continued from the previous post here) Fourth, as we move from the united kingdom to the return from exile, the prophet Zechariah reinforces this perspective. Many people know the verse from Zechariah 4.6: ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit’ says the Lord. But what is not always realised is that the re-establishment … Continue Reading

Is God a warrior?

Events of recent weeks offer a serious challenge to our thinking about God and conflict. The video released by the ISIS group of militant Sunni Muslims fighting in Iraq included an British Muslim from Cardiff urging others to join him. In the video he makes three claims: that jihad (understood by some Muslims as a spiritual struggle) … Continue Reading

Work, power and fruitfulness

Earlier today, I read a blog post which started by mentioning ‘one of the most powerful Christian leaders in the world.’ I don’t think I read much further. What on earth could such a comment mean? I was particularly struck by because of a conversation I had had a couple of weeks earlier. I visited … Continue Reading

Schools, faith and tolerance

The case of the supposed ‘Trojan Horse’ infiltration of some Birmingham schools by ‘Islamic fundamentalists’ has, of course, generated more heat than light. And it was only a matter of time before the spotlight was turned on Christian ‘fundamentalist’ schools. On Newsnight last night (starting at 26:20 into the programme), Jeremy Paxman introduced the issue by asking: ‘Where does belief end and bigotry begin?’

God and grief

Tuesday evening. The phone rings. My brother’s voice. ‘Joe’s been killed.’ Three words that change the world. I didn’t know what to say. ‘I don’t know what to say.’ That’s it. Do not go gentle into that good night…Rage, rage against the dying of the light. So wrote Dylan Thomas about his father dying in old … Continue Reading

Why we need feminism

A recent Grove Ethics booklet, Women, Justice, and the Church: An Apology for Feminism, is a really compelling study by Kate Kirkpatrick from St Clare’s in Oxford. She wants us to move beyond current debates about women in ministry to ask much more fundamental questions about the place of women in society—and in particular to be alert to … Continue Reading

The power of biblical metaphor

I recently came across a fascinating essay by George Orwell from 1946 on ‘Politics and the English Language.’ Orwell was such a remarkable character, with such insight, that anything he wrote is worth looking at. One of the most important things I did in my whole time in school was to have to read Animal Farm … Continue Reading