Last week, returning from a half-term break in France, we had a tyre blow out on the autoroute and, since almost everything is closed on a Sunday in France, we had an unplanned extra day there. We stayed over in St Quentin, a town of ancient foundation which was the capital of the war-like Viromandui, … Continue Reading
Since we are now in Lent, it might be a good time to review the spiritual habit of fasting. Jesus clearly expected his followers to fast after he had gone, so it is odd that this is not a widespread habit amongst all Christians. To answer this, we need to ask some background questions. How often … Continue Reading
I’m often intrigued by those who argue that the church’s stance on sexuality—which usually means the church’s traditional opposition to seeing same-sex sexual unions as equivalent to male-female marriage—as an obstacle to mission. They are quite right that most people beyond the church look at this aspect of its teaching with more or less blank … Continue Reading
I like ideas, and (as you might have gathered if you have read this blog at all) find them fascinating and motivating. But the most significant changes in my life have usually come not because of ideas, but because of the examples of others. When I find a notion concretely expressed in the life and … Continue Reading
I am not really convinced by the idea of New Year’s resolutions. Although it is good to reflect on life, our goals and priorities, resolutions have never really worked for me and I don’t think they work for many others. (January is the biggest time for new gym subscriptions—but the gym habit doesn’t last for most … Continue Reading
Is Sunday a day of rest for you? If you are in church leadership, I suspect the answer will be a resounding ‘No’! Quite right too—most full-time church leaders will plan for another ‘Sabbath’ on a day other than Sunday. (If you don’t, you should). But is Sunday a day of rest for members of … Continue Reading
The Church of England has just launched a new website for those interesting in having their children baptised, or ‘christened’ as the website mostly calls it. (The language here is a little odd: at one point it says ‘Baptism is the heart of the christening’; I had thought the two words were usually used synonymously.) And very impressive it is too. Or is it?
Earlier today, I read a blog post which started by mentioning ‘one of the most powerful Christian leaders in the world.’ I don’t think I read much further. What on earth could such a comment mean? I was particularly struck by because of a conversation I had had a couple of weeks earlier. I visited … Continue Reading
Across the pond, another dispute has arisen and another split taken place, though it has not been much reported beyond narrow interested circles (fortunately). I have to admit to struggling to relate to this kind of debate, so you will need to look elsewhere for a better reporting of it (if you are interested). But it does … Continue Reading
The real danger here is a lack of critical thinking, a lack of interest in the question: ‘Yes, it might be entertaining, or engaging, or say what I want to hear—but is it true?’. There is a caricature which says that concern for the truth is the preserve of anally-retentive, awkward, conservative/fundamentalist Christians. But it is not. It should be the concern for all Christians. The way many people, and in particular Christian influencers, are using social media is corroding this concern for asking even basic questions of truth. And in turn this is corroding understanding of faith, the reading of Scripture, and even Christian discipleship. We will all be the poorer for it.
The letter of James is popular and potent, combining vivid and memorable imagery with a directness of command and application. But it also offers a number of striking puzzles: Why does it not refer to the basic elements of Christian faith that you might expect, like the cross, the resurrection and the Holy Spirit? How … Continue Reading