Were Joseph and Mary ‘poor’?

One of the repeated themes of short Christmas expositions is that, in the nativity story, we see God coming to the ‘poor’, and as a result the main message of Christmas is that we should pay particular attention to the ‘poor’. I put the term in inverted commas, because in both these contexts the term … Continue Reading

Three surprises for Christmas

Every year at Christmas, we are once again reminded that the shepherds to whom the angels appeared were poor outcasts, that the holy family was abandoned and alone, and perhaps that the swaddling of Jesus was not something ordinary but a sign of spiritual significance. Christmas is a time for celebration, for feasting and for … Continue Reading

Is God disabled?

I am disabled—in fact I suffer from multiple disabilities.  I am very short sighted (my prescription is -5 diopters) and I also suffer from astigmatism (inherited from my father—it prevented him continuing his career as a pilot in the RAF after WW2) which means I cannot function easily in everyday life without medical intervention in … 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

Three Christmas Surprises

Christmas is a time for celebration, for feasting and for relationships. But it is also a time for a mild engagement in iconoclasm, as we peel back the layers of accreted tradition and recover the origins of the Christmas gospel. In that spirit (and Spirit) I offer three Christmas surprises for you to unwrap at … 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