Martyn Percy’s non-sense poetry on sexuality

In anticipation of the Primate’s meeting in January, Martyn Percy, previously Principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon, now Dean of Christchurch, Oxford, and Vice President of Modern Church, has set out his proposals for what should be discussed and agreed. He sums up his approach as a plea for a poetic resolution, something that transcends the … Continue Reading

There’s something (humble) about Mary

I know Christmas circular letters are not everyone’s cup of tea, but we enjoy writing ours as a review of the year, and catching up with what has been going on in the lives of others. For those who don’t like them, their distaste is summed up in that archetypal circular where everything is going wonderfully … Continue Reading

Faith, purity and the virgin birth

I really don’t know what goes through the mind of people who argue that they know much better than the gospel writers what Christianity is all about. Do they think the evangelists were stupid, ignorant, or just a little bit slow on the uptake—or perhaps all three? And how did Christian tradition make such egregious … Continue Reading

Tradition and the contemporary at Christmas

Perhaps the greatest challenge at Christmas is how to combine the traditional with the contemporary. On the one hand, how do we honour people’s expectations of traditional forms whilst ‘proclaiming afresh in this generation’ the truths of Christmas? On the other hand, how do we make an ancient story connect with the concerns and questions … Continue Reading

Preaching the infancy narratives

In my previous post, I argued that we should be preaching at all our Christmas services, even when there are significant numbers of visitors. But can we find something fresh to say about texts that we know so well? The last piece Dick France wrote before his untimely death was a chapter in the volume … Continue Reading

Should we preach at Christmas services?

David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, has done some research on the distinctive needs of occasional attenders who might come to Christmas services, but don’t attend the rest of the year. This appears to be an important group; I have noticed this year how many people are reporting increased attendances at carol services, and we saw … Continue Reading

Tributes to Professor Howard Marshall

Many in the world of NT scholarship were saddened to hear of the death of I Howard Marshall (1934–2015) last Saturday after a short illness. Howard was professor emeritus of New Testament exegesis and honorary research professor at the University of Aberdeen, and he was widely recognized as one of the leaders of the second generation … Continue Reading

A vision for ministry and training

Dr Jon Coutts is a Canadian who recently joined the faculty at Trinity College, Bristol; he blogs at I conducted a virtual interview with him exploring issues around ministry and ministry training, and I think his answers are truly fascinating. We have things to offer other contexts—but we also have important things to learn … Continue Reading

Same-sex marriage and the second Jeremy

As most of the nationals reported (in fairly short articles), a second clergyman has had permission to officiate refused by the Bishop of Winchester, Tim Dakin, because he has entered a same-sex marriage. As with the previous case, this also involves a Jeremy. (What is it with Jeremys? Is there some nominative determinism at work?!) Jeremy Davies was … Continue Reading

Was Luke in error about the date of Jesus’ birth?

Before Christmas 2013 I watched the film Gravity. The effects were spectacular, the photography breathtaking, the characterisations engaging, and the story held one’s attention throughout. It even raised some profound (religious?) questions about life, death and purpose. And yet, when I left the cinema, I could not decide whether I had enjoyed the film or not. For … Continue Reading

The kingdom and the common good

In one of the presentations at the Premier Digital Media Awards I attended last month, the speaker used a phrase about his project which has stayed with me. A group of coders spent a weekend trying to design computer and phone apps that could be used ‘for the kingdom and the common good.’ I was … Continue Reading