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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 21:  Protesters hold signs calling for justice for the victims of the Grenfell Disaster and shout slogans as they march towards Westminster during an anti-government protest on June 21, 2017 in London, England. A series of protests are held in the capital in response to the Queen's Speech including a "Day of Rage" organised by the Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary.  The Clement James Centre helping residents of the Grenfell disaster have emphasised that they do not want their grief hijacked for violent means.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Prayer, anger and Grenfell Tower

Following the appalling disaster of the fire at Grenfell Tower, local people planned a ‘Day of Rage’ to protest at the injustices and cost-cutting that appears to have led to the catastrophic failure of fire regulations in the tower—and almost all others like it clad in a similar way. The immediate response from many Christians was to plan a ‘Day of Prayer’, for many based on the maxim that ‘Human anger does not achieve God’s righteous purposes’ (James 1.20), and perhaps out of anxiety that the planned protest would result in violence—fears that were not, in the end, realised. But in response to this alternative, Mike Higton (Professor of Theology and Ministry at the University of Durham) makes a striking observation:

I must admit, I’m disturbed by the ‘we need a day of prayer, not a day of rage’ line. We should be angry; we need to be angry. As a Christian, I’m a reader of angry scriptures, and serve an angry God – a God who rages against the machine. Discovering how to be angry well, how to harness anger constructively, how not to let anger spill over into violence – yes; absolutely. Discovering how not to be angry? No! I don’t think I’m yet anywhere near angry enough.

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Violence in Christianity and Islam

Following the atrocities in London and Manchester in recent weeks, many commentators have been quick to say ‘This violence has nothing to do with Islam.’ When that is claimed by a leader within the Muslim community, then it appears to mean something particular: ‘This violence is nothing to do with Islamic beliefs as I understand […]

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Preaching on Trinity Sunday

Here it comes again: that Sunday in the lectionary which most preachers dread or (to disguise this) suddenly think of guest preachers who need an opportunity to contribute their ministry. Yes, it is Trinity Sunday! Rather than offer you a sermon as a resource, I thought it would be helpful to point out three things […]

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The dynamism of Pentecost

Coming once again to the New Testament texts about Pentecost, I have been struck by the extraordinary dynamism which seems to be present in every aspect. In the gospels, Jesus is the dynamic focus of action—constantly on the move physically as a way of expressing the dynamic presence and movement of God in his ministry—and […]

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Why is Ascension Day so important?

What would you identify as the climax and completion of Jesus’ life and ministry? Surprisingly, this is not a trivial question. One of the key differences between John and the synoptic gospels is that, where the synoptics portray the crucifixion as a necessary but incomplete act on the way to the resurrection, John portrays it […]

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What does Rev 4–5 tell us about the Trinity?

I am writing a commentary on the Book of Revelation, and also doing work on the contribution of Revelation to our understanding of the Trinity. I post hereby summary comments on Revelation 4 and 5, since these are the most important contributions in Revelation to our understanding of the relation between Jesus and the Father, […]

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