Should church buildings close during lockdowns?

When the first lockdown was announced on 23rd March this year, it was followed fairly swiftly by the announcement from Church of England bishops that, going beyond what was legally required or requested, that church buildings should be shut definitively. Not only were there to be no physical gatherings of congregations, clergy were not to … Continue Reading

What can the Christian faith say to the crisis of capitalism?

Capitalism appears to be in some kind of crisis. On the one hand, it has provided a mechanism for lifting people out of poverty and creating unprecedented wealth, including reducing global poverty to historically low levels. On the other, it has led to untrammelled destruction of the environment, and unrestrained inequality and individualism which has … Continue Reading

Are the laity and the clergy fundamentally different from one another?

There has been much talk in recent months, for a whole host of reasons, of eliminating the ‘culture of deference’ within the Church of England. This has been highlighted over the weekend in the comment by Stephen Cottrell, on the day of his ‘enthronement’ as Archbishop of York, noting that his predecessor has not been … Continue Reading

Understanding emerging gender identities

Mark Yarhouse is well known as a psychologist offering a Christian perspective on the complex questions around transgenderism and gender dysphoria, and I have previously reviewed his book Understanding Gender Dysphoria. He has teamed up with Julia Sadusky, a clinical psychologist and youth and ministry educator, and an advisor to Preston Sprinkle’s Center for Faith, Sexuality and … Continue Reading

Is this the best theological book ever written?

Oliver Harrison writes: What’s the best theological book you have ever read? Something by Barth or Bonhoeffer? Aquinas or Calvin? Luther or Spurgeon? Rowan Williams or C S Lewis? Mine is a novel published 15 years ago, written by a middle-aged American woman and called simply Gilead. Gilead is a single, relatively short and deceptively simple … Continue Reading

What is the best size for a church?

One of the fringe meetings at July’s session of the General Synod focussed on the needs of ‘mid-sized churches’, in this case defined as worshipping communities of 20 to 60. The reason for this was a question that William Nye, Secretary General of Synod and the Archbishops’ Council, had raised: Without meaning to, a lot … Continue Reading

Why does Notre Dame matter?

Isabelle Hamley writes: Growing up in France, I never really thought of Notre-Dame de Paris as the best French cathedral. Or the best example of early gothic architecture. Or even a place of deep spiritual meaning for me. It was – well, that’s it, it just, was. And so I wasn’t really prepared for the … Continue Reading

What does Revelation tell us about the human condition?

I have contributed a chapter to a book appearing next year on Anthropology of the New Testament, exploring Revelation’s depiction of the human condition. I include here some paragraphs from my introduction, and the conclusion. Revelation’s anthropology (like much else about it!) is less straightforward and less predictable than commonly thought. Excavating the anthropology of the … Continue Reading

Can theology save the NHS?

By any account, the NHS is in crisis, and a crisis more acute this winter than we have seen before. Some have described the challenges facing the service as a ‘perfect storm’ of pressures, and whilst there is a debate about whether it is a question of quantity of funding or how that funding is … Continue Reading