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Do numbers matter?

There is a great game you can play as an Anglican clergyman—I call it ‘numbers bingo’. You can play it whenever you are in a meeting with other Anglican clergyman, though it might work for other denominations too. You need to join in the conversation, and time how long it takes for someone to mention […]

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Should Christians think?

I am continuing to read through Thom Shultz’ book Why Nobody Want to go to Church anymore, in which he identifies four key objections to church and proposes four responses, what he calls the Four Acts of Love. Having explored Radical Hospitality, the next chapter explores Fearless Conversation. Interestingly, Shultz addresses this in two quite distinct […]

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Putting relationships first

As a Christian leader, there are three things I would want to nurture in my fellow believers as they go about their occupations (whether paid or unpaid). The first is confidence to share their faith in appropriate and winsome ways. The second is to think through how the good news of what God has done […]

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My top ten books on theology and ministry (1)

To launch what might be a new mini-series on the blog, my good friend James Blandford-Baker offers his top ten books on theology and ministry that shaped his own thinking and practice. James is Vicar of St Andrew’s, Histon, and Priest-in-Charge of St Andrew’s, Impington, as well as being Rural Dean of North Stowe in Ely Diocese. This […]

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Pruning and fruitfulness

With the beautiful spring weather, I have just completed my first hour back in the garden since abandoning it (more or less) over the winter. I devoted my time to pruning and offer some reflections here on the process. Pruning needs confidence. You only prune things that you think are going to continue to flower and […]

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Is ‘discipleship’ Anglican?

A few weeks ago, Linda Woodhead suggested in the Church Times that discipleship was a ‘theologically peripheral concept’, and the following week Angela Tilby dismissed the ‘d-word’ as ‘sectarian vocabulary that…shows the influence of American-derived Evangelicalism on the Church’s current leadership.’ The short discussions in each place actually raise not one but three, inter-related, questions: […]

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Life as labyrinth

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, […]

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fasting

How often should we fast?

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 […]

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Can the ‘traditional’ view of sexuality ever be plausible?

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 […]

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Kenji Goto: faithful witness

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 […]

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Four prayers for the New Year

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 […]

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