Preaching Christmas—without a Stable

Reading the nativity account in Luke 2 carefully highlights the way that the tradition of the stable is nowhere present. That’s all very well for scholars, people say, but how does that work in the practice of preaching? The answer is: rather well! This is what I said last time I preached on what Luke … Continue Reading

What does Paul teach us about resolving conflict?

We appear to be in a cultural moment where conflict dominates every aspect of life. It is not just the green benches of Parliament, laid out in opposition to one another on two ‘sides’, that communicate this—though the discussions about Europe (and just about every other political issue) seem to exemplify this. Social media has … Continue Reading

Can we love God with our mind?

Is Christian faith about an affective encounter with God, or about becoming convinced about the case for Christianity? You will immediately be crying ‘False dichotomy!’—but it is worth reflecting on the balance between these two ideas in contemporary expressions of faith. There was a time when the tradition of rational enquiry was most influential, but … Continue Reading

Using personal disclosure in preaching

How much should I share of my personal experience in the context of preaching? This is a perennial question facing anyone in ministry in the local church—and relevant to speaking on other occasions too. My first encounter with the issue arose when I was a teenager. I remember one of the lay preachers in the … Continue Reading

Celebrating No-Palm Sunday

This year, Palm Sunday is cancelled, so you need to do away with your palm crosses, and change the choice of hymns. The reason is that we are reading from Luke’s gospel, and Luke makes no mention of ‘palms’ during Jesus’ ‘triumphal entry’ in Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. Instead, we only get mention (Luke … Continue Reading