You might be recoiling in horror at sight of Easter eggs already in the shop, knowing as you do that the Christmas season does not cease until Candlemas on February 3rd—and you might be shocked that, in apparently similar vein, I am already looking forward to Easter. The theological justification is that Easter is actually … Continue Reading
A happy new year to all my readers! And welcome to the season of short-lived resolutions! I say that not out of cynicism but of realism. I once helped to run a squash league at a local gym, and discovered that only around one-fifth of those who paid their subscriptions actually used the gym on … Continue Reading
This is the text of my lecture in the ‘Downtown Discourse’ series, based at St George’s Anglican Church, Pikes Peak Avenue: The Book of Revelation is a divinely inspired prophecy of the end times in which we now live. Although John didn’t understand what he was seeing or describing, events which were far distant from … Continue Reading
The second talk at the recent Festival of Theology was by Dr Sally Nash, Director of MCYM based in Nottingham. She says: Genesis 2.25 tells us that Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed. In the next chapter of Genesis after they have eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil they … Continue Reading
When I last preached on the lectionary reading, Mark 10.2–16 (as many of you might just have done) I felt not a little intimidated by the challenge. It feels though there was a time when reading and preaching on this passage was a lot more straightforward than it feels now. (Life as generally a lot … Continue Reading
How should we respond to forecasts of the end of the world and a coming apocalypse? Will there be a ‘tribulation’ and a ‘rapture’? And what does the Bible really say about the end of the world and the return of Jesus?
These questions keep swirling around—but it is not always easy to find sensible answers.
In this accessible study morning, we will look carefully at the teaching of Jesus, Paul and others in the New Testament to see what they really thought. It turns out that expectation of ‘the end’ was important to the first followers of Jesus—but in ways very different from what we might find in the latest Hollywood blockbuster.
The parable of the sheep and the goats in Matt 25.31–46 isn’t actually a parable (since there is no suggestion that ‘the kingdom of heaven is like this’), and isn’t really about sheep and goats (as we shall see). But it is very well known, and is most commonly interpreted as an encouragement for followers … Continue Reading
In the previous post, I explored how the language of vocation is used in contemporary discourse, (expressing individuation, interiorisation, stratification, self-actualisation and marginalisation) and then began to reflect on the rather different description in scripture. God calls creation into being; his disruptive call to Abraham both completed the past and opened the future; God’s call … Continue Reading
Vocation has always been an important term for the Church of England as it thinks about patterns of ministry, and it has recently been hitting the headlines as the ‘number of vocations’ has been increasing, particularly amongst the young. But ‘vocation’ is also a common term in wider culture; once you are aware of it, … Continue Reading
It’s not uncommon in churches, when the time comes for the Bible reading, to see people reach not for a printed pew Bible, but for their phones, to read the Bible on a phone app. When I was in a session at New Wine this summer, the speaker at the morning Bible study (Miriam Swaffield) … Continue Reading
At the beginning of August, Jude Smith (who is team rector of Moor Allerton and Shadwell in North Leeds) wrote an intriguing and slightly pessimistic article on the challenges facing the idea of the gathered church meeting on a Sunday morning, and I have been pondering it over the last few weeks. The context was … Continue Reading