The meaning of martyrdom

Whenever I travel on the train, I have to think carefully about whether I wear my clerical collar, or whether I travel in ‘mufti’. It partly depends on what kind of meeting or event I am travelling to, but it also depends on whether I want to work quietly on the train, or am happy … Continue Reading

Is John 17 about unity?

If I was given sixpence every time I heard someone quoted John 17.21 ‘…that they might be one…’ then I’d have a lot of change that I wouldn’t know what to do with. It is commonly suggested that, in this, Jesus’ ‘high priestly prayer’, we see his last desire expressed to his heavenly Father, and … Continue Reading

The lost virtue of naiveté

‘Gosh, I never realised….X’. ‘Really? I knew that ages ago—it’s pretty common knowledge you know!’

I wonder if you’ve ever had that kind of conversation—at work, or church, or amongst friends or family. You have assumed that things are as they were claimed to be, or presented, but all the time ‘everybody’ ‘knew’ that that wasn’t really the truth, and you were naive to assume it was. As I reflect back, I realised that it has

Will we be male and female in the new creation?

In recent debates about the meaning of marriage, one area of speculation has been whether our differentiated sex identity as male and female (this is biological sex identity, not ‘gender’ as it is often called, which is about social constructions of masculine and feminine identity) will persist into the new creation. Two people in particular … Continue Reading

The sending of the 72 in Luke 10

In case you are still looking for ideas on preaching this passage (or hearing it preached on) here is my sermon for this morning: What is your vocation? What have you been called to? You might not think you have one—after all, isn’t vocation something for people doing worthy jobs that call for self-sacrifice—teachers, doctors, … Continue Reading

Does grace despise virtue?

In our mid-size group in our church we are using the Pilgrim Course to study the Lord’s Prayer. This week we were reflecting on ‘Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us’, and we were directed to explore the so-called parable of the Prodigal Son (really, the parable of the Forgiving … Continue Reading

Was Jesus married?

In 2012, a papyrus fragment with Coptic text on it hit the headlines, primarily because it appeared to include the phrase ‘Jesus said to them: “My wife…”‘. It attracted more attention than it might otherwise have done because it was endorsed by Karen King, Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. But in something like the biblical studies … Continue Reading

Learning leadership from Leicester City

Leicester City’s triumph in the Premier League has been hailed as a miracle; even “the most unlikely sporting triumph ever”. On the surface, it appears as though manager Claudio Ranieri is as surprised as anyone at how it turned out. In an interview yesterday he was quizzed on the secret of his success: Interviewer: “What has … Continue Reading

Learning from Leicester on Leadership

Leicester City’s triumph in the Premier League is being hailed as ‘the most unlikely sporting triumph ever’ and ‘a miracle’. On the surface, it appears as though the manager, Claudio Ranieri, is as surprised as anyone at how it turned out. In an interview yesterday he was quizzed on the secret of his success: Interviewer; … Continue Reading

Poetic structure in Jesus’ teaching

In doing some research on Matthew’s portrait of Jesus, I have been struck afresh by the poetic structuring of Jesus’ teaching. Noticing this raises interesting issues both about our engagement with the texts and our understanding of them, but also some questions about how the texts have come to us in their current form. A … Continue Reading