Bishops should throw away their mitres

Why do Church of England bishops wear mitres? In our age of visual media, there is a tendency to reach for visual symbolism; it seems sometimes that those on television they don’t think they are actually talking to a bishop unless the person is wearing a purple cassock. But there are many reasons for saying … Continue Reading

Responding to Dominic Cummings

It is not often that a single story dominates everyone’s online conversation—yet that is what happened over the weekend, when I found that just about all my Facebook friends were commenting on the same issue. And it is not often that the bishops of the Church of England appear to speak with one voice on … Continue Reading

Effective communication in online preaching

Earlier this week, I had a fantastically stimulating discussion with Bryan Wolfmeuller, Pastor of St Paul Lutheran Church, Austin Text, and Jesus Deaf Lutheran Church, about the challenges and opportunities of online communication. I previously linked some of his material, including his instructional video on tips for pastors when preaching online, in an earlier post. … Continue Reading

How to speak well on radio

I last wrote about speaking on the radio (and television) four years ago, so thought it worth revisiting the subject. This arose in part as a reflection on contributing to a piece about Justin Welby’s comments on higher tax rates on Radio 4’s Sunday, in which I debated with Andy Walton whether Christian leaders should … Continue Reading

Can we preach so people want to listen?

What do people in your congregation feel like just as the service reaches the time for the sermon? Do they have a sense of anticipation and expectation? Is it something that they are looking forward to? This is quite a personal question for preachers, and so something of a challenge, since there is much truth … Continue Reading

Is the EU the ‘greatest human dream realised’?

Last Sunday the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, addressed the General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) in Serbia, on the issue of continuing Christian witness in Europe. In his talk, he gives a brief overview of the history of Christianity in Europe, and makes some important observations about the role of Christian churches … Continue Reading

How can we use words well in worship?

 We live in a very wordy world. And Christian faith and worship can often be wordy too. But how can this ‘wordiness’ be used well? Mark Earey, who teaches at the Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham, explores this question in the latest Grove Worship booklet. We use words a lot in worship—sometimes too much, making worship … Continue Reading

Should we read the Bible literally?

Last week it was reported that Dr Hugh Houghton of the University of Birmingham had translated a long-lost fourth-century Latin commentary on the gospels by African-born Italian bishop Fortunatianus of Aquileia, which Jerome had described as ‘a gem’, but which was thought to have been lost, either having perished or having been destroyed. But it turns … Continue Reading